With the Lakers hoping for a swift decision from Dwight Howard on his free agency this summer, the All-Star center has given no indication he will rush the process and has privately indicated that he plans to give strong consideration to multiple teams, league sources told CBSSports.com.

Though Howard is adamant that his free agency not be marred by the circus-like environment that surrounded his departure from Orlando last summer, word already has spread to multiple levels of his support staff that Howard re-signing with the Lakers is far from a done deal.

With six weeks to go before Howard becomes an unrestricted free agent, the team that is said to intrigue him the most is the Houston Rockets, according to multiple people briefed on internal conversations surrounding Howard's free-agent decision. The Rockets have a young star, James Harden, who has proved himself worthy of playing the leading role for the franchise; a budding 3-point shooting threat in Chandler Parsons; a defensive-minded coach in Kevin McHale; and Omer Asik, the kind of 7-footer Howard is believed to want next to him in the frontcourt.

The Rockets are a couple of minor moves away from having room to sign Howard; they have a team option on Francisco Garcia's $6.4 million and Carlos Delfino's $3 million is fully non-guaranteed, for example. If they chose to or needed to make a trade to create room, they have numerous attractive young players on tradable contracts, such as 2012 No. 5 pick Thomas Robinson. Such assets could be moved to a team or teams under the cap to create room or packaged in a possible sign-and-trade with LA -- if the Lakers became convinced that Howard would leave and they'd receive nothing in return.

The Mavericks represent another franchise that intrigues Howard, and Dallas is a minor transaction or two away from having enough room to sign Howard outright as an unrestricted free agent. Howard plans to explore all such options, and a person briefed on his plans told CBSSports.com that there are "several" teams the free-agent center is "going to take a hard look at."

The clear advantage for the Lakers in their effort to re-sign Howard is the 2011 collective bargaining agreement, which allows LA to give Howard a five-year deal with annual increases based on 7.5 percent of his first-year salary in a new deal -- which will be in excess of $20 million. Another team with cap room to sign Howard could only give him a four-year deal with 4.5 percent annual increases -- the same arrangement Howard would be limited to if he agreed to leave via a sign-and-trade.