NBA roundup

Paul staying in L.A., Howard may not

Chris Paul's answer was brief, just like his time on the free agent market.

"I'M IN!!!" he wrote Monday on Twitter.

He will be staying with the Clippers, the longtime losers he helped turned into a division champion in just two seasons.

Dwight Howard will need more time to think.

Free agency opened Monday in the NBA with the focus on the pair of Los Angeles All-Stars, though Paul took himself off the market only hours after shopping season started.

Agent Leon Rose confirmed Paul's return, which had been expected after the Clippers signed Doc Rivers as their new coach. The Clippers can pay the two-time Olympic gold medalist around $108 million for five years.

Howard can make even more by staying with the Lakers, but that won't stop him from looking elsewhere.

He met with the Houston Rockets early Monday, the Dallas Mavericks and Atlanta Hawks also are interested, and the Lakers have said repeatedly they want to keep him.

The Rockets got the first crack at persuading him to leave. With Hall of Famers Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler joining its contingent, Houston pitched Howard on joining All-Star James Harden.

Rockets general manager Daryl Morey wrote on Twitter that it was a great meeting with Howard and that having Olajuwon and Drexler there "made it obvious how (Howard and Harden) could be the next (great) big/wing combo."

Hawks general manager Danny Ferry and new coach Mike Budenholzer were visiting Howard later Monday, trying to convince him to join his hometown team.

And he'll meet Tuesday with the Lakers' delegation. His first - perhaps only - season in Los Angeles was a disappointment and he acknowledged being unhappy at times. But the Lakers want to keep the former Defensive Player of the Year, believing the extra year and about $30 million more they can give him will provide a huge advantage.

Steve Nash, who like Howard had a difficult first season in Los Angeles, tweeted Monday that he was flying from New York to Los Angeles to help the Lakers make their pitch.

"(Dwight Howard) we're coming for you," he wrote. "You're going to love the statue we build for you outside Staples in 20yrs!"

Contracts can't be signed until July 10, after the next season's salary cap has been set.

Knicks, Raptors agree to Bargnani deal

A person with knowledge of the details says the New York Knicks and Toronto Raptors have agreed on their deal involving former No. 1 overall pick Andrea Bargnani.

The Knicks will get the forward from Italy in exchange for three players and three picks, the person tells The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Monday because the talks were to remain private.

Toronto will receive Knicks reserves Steve Novak, Marcus Camby and Quentin Richardson, who will be signed-and-traded. The Knicks are also sending the Raptors a 2016 first-round pick and two second-round picks.

The deal can't become official until July 10, after next season's salary cap has been set.

Bargnani, the No. 1 pick of the 2006 draft, has two years and about $22.2 million remaining on his contract.

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