First came David Aldridge, amidst multiple reports, on Twitter Friday afternoon:
Source says Howard's top two, after trade, are--in no order of preference--Golden State and Houston. Lakers not eliminated, but now behind.— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) July 5, 2013
The Hawks were eliminated without public notice, at least so far, as Dallas was publicly eliminated first, then close behind these tweets with the three finalists.
Contrary to what some are already speculating, the Hawks were actively involved and were part of what Howard terms "great meetings" Monday in Los Angeles. That the media had no scoop or inside information from the Hawks led to them speculating about the teams from which they did have information.
There should be no conspiracy theories like a phony moon landing type deal when it comes to this. Just because our man Arye Abraham didn't catch Danny Ferry crossing the street in Dad jeans on video like Rockets GM Daryl Morey doesn't mean they weren't out there with Dwight and Andre Iguodala.
UPDATE: Sam Amick of USA Today reports the HOUSTON ROCKETS have been selected by Dwight Howard
MORE UPDATE: Dwight has changed his mind and headed back to LAX to talk to the Lakers again. Chris Broussard was on ESPN reporting that now it's 50/50.
MORE, MORE, MORE (How do you like it, how do you like it?) UPDATE (1040pm): IT'S OVER! IT'S HOUSTON!
Now that it's Houston, then the rumored deal of a sign-and-trade with Josh Smith to Houston seems likely, with Smith joining Howard and Harden as their Big 3.
With Andre Iguodala agreeing to terms with Golden State Friday as well, and Tyreke Evans heading to New Orleans, the Hawks may downshift into role players in that market, like Corey Brewer or Carlos Delfino.
GROUP QUESTION: On a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the most upset, how upset are you at Howard eliminating Atlanta?