At the very least, this Dwightmare shouldn't drag on as long as the last one. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Dwight plans to make his decision by Friday. Disregarding the fact that Adam Schefter is apparently dipping his toes into the waters of NBA Free Agency, this little nugget of information changes the dynamic of Howard's free agency.
There will be no second meetings for teams, and Howard will make his call based on what he has learned in the first few days of free agency. Hopefully, with time to think about his decision, Howard will detach emotion from his decision and see that the Rockets are his best option. If not, at least the Rockets will be in a position to have plenty of time to make use of their nearly $20 million in cap space.
But getting back to the decision at hand, in my opinion, the Rockets are no less or more likely to land Howard than they were a week ago. I considered them the favorites then and I still do. However, if you go by the pulse of the fan, it seems like optimism has mostly waned as the days have gone by.
Most of this has to do with the media spin surrounding the last few days. Just as there was a surge of optimism from Rockets fans just before and after Houston's meeting with him, Los Angeles seemed to get more confident around the time of their meeting with Howard. This is no accident.
Around the time of their meetings, teams "leaked" information about their confidence in their pitch in their chances to land Howard. That's why everyone and their mother had a source reporting that a certain team would land Howard. After all, any little boost a team could get could help.
And so when the Lakers have continued to leak information that indicates that Howard might stay in Los Angeles, fans reacted as such. There was the requisite "the meeting went great" quotes from everyone involved, and now, some are starting to speculate that Los Angeles may have jumped into the lead.
The fact is that nothing has changed. Each team had a compelling pitch and offered many of the same things. Any pessimism coming from the last few days is just recency bias. We tend to weight recent events more heavily than we weight past events in our mind, so the optimism after the Lakers meetings is weighted more heavily than the optimism from the Rockets just a few days ago.
At the end of the day, I have but one bit of advice for everyone: Only Trust Woj.