Dwight Howard (right) and Chris Paul are both set to be unrestricted free agents this summer. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(PhatzRadio / AP) — Dwight Howard and Chris Paul are reportedly looking to make one team very happy this summer.
The two marquee free agents of the offseason, Howard and Paul are hoping to join forces and play together in 2013-14, according to ESPN.com’s Chris Broussard. “They would love to play together if somebody can make it happen,” a source told Broussard.
Both will be free agents come July 1. Howard, who averaged 17.1 points, 12.4 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in his first season with the Lakers, has been linked to several teams since Los Angeles was eliminated by the Spurs in the first round of the playoffs. The Rockets and Mavericks are said to intrigue him.
Paul, 28, averaged 16.9 points, 9.7 assists and 2.4 steals in his second season with the Clippers. He reportedly was upset with the Clippers recently because he felt he was being wrongly blamed for the organization’s decision to fire coach Vinny Del Negro last month.
ESPN.com reported that Howard’s hometown of Atlanta is a possibility for Howard and Paul, albeit an unlikely one. The website also reported that the two players would prefer to team up with the Clippers, who don’t have the cap space to sign Howard and would need to work a sign-and-trade deal with the Lakers for the three-time Defensive Player of the Year.
The Clippers would be open to working out a deal, but they fear the Lakers would never trade Howard to them, according to the sources.
But while trading Howard to a team in their own building seems unthinkable, the Lakers are not likely to get a better trade package elsewhere than say, Blake Griffin and Eric Bledsoe.
Sources say there was a faction of the Clippers organization that entertained the idea of trading Griffin for Howard when Howard wanted out of Orlando in 2012. But others within the franchise regarded Griffin as “untouchable,” and there were never any serious discussions with Orlando.
Griffin, 24, averaged 18 points and 8.3 rebounds for the Clippers and was deemed “too nice” by teammate Chauncey Billups.
Paul and Howard have reportedly discussed teaming up since 2009.
“I tried to get him to come to New Orleans,” Paul told Yahoo! Sports last fall, referencing a failed bid to get Howard to join him when Paul played for the Hornets.
“We always wanted to play together,” Howard said to the website of Paul. “It didn’t happen that way.”