Dwight Howard: Lakers, Rockets and Mavericks Start Pitching to Star Free Agent

The Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks are pulling out all the stops in an effort to (re-)sign perennial All-Star center Dwight Howard.

Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant; Daryl Morey and James Harden; Mark Cuban and...Raising Cane's?

Every time one tag team bench-presses the bar of expectations, another ups the tempo and raises the sales pitch.  

July 1 is the official start of NBA free agency; episode one of basketball's version of The Bachelor, where franchise owners and moonlighting yacht captains beg on their knees like athletic groupies. 

There's a fine line between "resign" and "re-sign." In the Lakers' ongoing scenario, it's less like a hyphen and more like a tightrope. 

First came the Valentine banners.

Then, newly appointed consultant and championship hoarder Phil Jackson took to Twitter and phrased a passive-aggressive plea in a way that only the "Zen Master" can. 

Howard will be left wondering two things: What is the origin of the quote, and why does Phil Jackson tweet like a fortune cookie?

The lyric dates back to a blues song by Taj Mahal; a song based around venturing out to the countryside and leaving the "smog" of LA in the rear-view. In other words, when Jackson returns from vacationing in Montana, the decorated coach hopes that he won't be the only one to have reunited with Los Angeles.

Bryant funneled his former coach's sentiments in an even more indirect fashion.

The guy's named after a venomous snake who submits its peers by slamming their head into the ground—that tweet's as close to "begging" as begging gets for Kobe B. Bryant. 

But if "Superman" follows Jackson's footsteps and departs LAX, his plane will probably be arriving in Houston or Dallas. Everything's bigger in Texas, including the in-state rivalries. 

In the hou...

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