Hawks to meet with Dwight Howard next week

Dwight Howard is a day away from unrestricted free agency and the Hawks will be one of the teams that he will make a pitch for the center.

The Hawks will meet with Howard next week, according to a person familiar with the situation. According to various reports, the Laker will also meet with the Rockets, Mavericks and Warriors before finally talking to the current employer.

Howard, from Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy, is considered the top unrestricted free agent about to hit the market. The Hawks have $33 million in salary cap space and have the ability to sign two free agents to maximum deals. The Hawks can offer Howard a maximum deal of four years, $88 million. The Lakers, who have started a public campaign to keep Howard, can offer a maximum deal of five-years, $118 million.

Chris Paul, the other top unrestricted free agent, is likely off the market and to re-sign with the Clippers.

The 27-year-old Howard was drafted with the first overall pick of the 2004 draft by the Magic. He spent eight seasons in Orlando before being traded to the Lakers last year.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.