NBA Free Agency Rumors: Atlanta Hawks already out of Dwight Howard sweepstakes?

Ronald Martinez

Dwight Howard is expected to announce his decision sometime on Friday but are the Atlanta Hawks already out of the discussion and moving on to other free agent matters?

ESPN.com's Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne try to piece together the Dwight Howard situation as it stands currently. Howard is expected (maybe, possibly) to make his decision known sometime on Friday and the Golden State Warriors are the team that is currently making the most noise.

As far as the Hawks go, here is what Stein and Shelbourne's article had to say:

Sources say the Hawks, meanwhile, have not been outright told they are out of contention, but they are the only one of the five teams to be granted face-to-face sitdowns with Howard this week that has begun to move on to other free-agent business as opposed to holding out hope that Howard remains gettable.

They could be referring to the Kyle Korver agreeing to terms or they could have intel that suggests Atlanta is lining up other targets for possible signings. The reality of the situation hasn't changed much and most of the free agency picture around the league is paralyzed until Howard makes his decision. After all Danny Ferry would be foolish to not have plan B at least formulated at this point.

Now what happens if Howard signs elsewhere? The Hawks could still play a part thanks to their surplus of cap space. We have already explored a potential sign and trade deal with the Rockets involving Josh Smith and Houston's Omer Asik.

The Warriors are desperately trying to clear cap room for Howard and are reportedly shopping Andrew Bogut, Richard Jefferson and Andris Biedrins to Atlanta, Utah and Cleveland. Golden State would likely have to part with young assets like Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes to make such a deal happen.

Essentially nothing much has changed. Atlanta may still be at best a longshot to land Howard but could be a secondary team that helps move pieces that clear the way for a Howard signing while grabbing assets for themselves.

More from Stein:

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