Hawks luring Dwight Howard with Stan Van Gundy, according to report

Sam Greenwood

The Hawks are beginning to angle their pitch to Dwight Howard this Summer by targeting a head coach that could appeal to the big man.

Dwight Howard has made it clear that he wants time to make a decision on his unrestricted free agency, which officially begins on July 1. That hasn't stopped the chatter around his future, or teams from angling to try and land the big man. The Atlanta Hawks, Howard's "home" team, are already making moves in an attempt to make their situation more appealing. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the Hawks have made Stan Van Gundy their top coaching candidate to replace Larry Drew to lure Howard to Atlanta:

General manager Danny Ferry has made Van Gundy his top target to replace Larry Drew, sources said.

The Hawks plan to make a hard push for free-agent center Dwight Howard on July 1, and there's some belief that Van Gundy could actually turn out to be a benefit in recruiting Howard back to his hometown.

Howard has expressed some sentiment that he better appreciates Van Gundy as a head coach, despite their clashes together in Orlando that ultimately led to the coach's firing after the 2011-12 season.

The Hawks will have the salary space to offer Howard a "mini-max" contract, though the Los Angeles Lakers still own his bird rights and can offer him the full max in free agency. It has been expected that Atlanta would make a run at landing Howard in free agency, but adding Van Gundy to the mix is a new fold.

The NBA Playoffs are still going, free agency has yet to begin, and the rumors are already beginning. This should be an exciting Summer in L.A.

- Drew

- Follow this author on Twitter @DrewGarrisonSBN

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