Sources close to the process told ESPN.com that the Rockets have received what has been described as "hopeful signals" that the All-Star center is seriously considering a jump from the Los Angeles Lakers to the Rockets after becoming a free agent July 1.
The 27-year-old Howard has made it clear that he will meet with both the Rockets and the Dallas Mavericks when free agency begins, but other teams could be added to that list.
If the Rockets do land Howard, he will be paired with electrifying young guard James Harden, who would be thrilled to join forces with one of the NBA's best big men.
After the Rockets' elimination from the playoffs in May, when asked if he'll be an active participant in free-agent recruiting, Harden told ESPN.com: "Hell, yeah." When asked specifically about Howard, Harden cracked a smile and said: "Maybe. Possibly."
Howard averaged 17.1 points and 12.4 rebounds in 76 games for the Lakers this season.
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