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Boston Celtics, Atlanta Hawks, Get First Pitch for Dwight Howard

Howard has slated his first two meetings ahead of the free agency moratorium period.

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks and the Boston Celtics are the first teams to secure face-to-face interviews with free agent center Dwight Howard, according to Chris Broussard and Marc Stein of ESPN.

Noticeably absent from the initial interview list are the Portland Trail Blazers. In fact, Neither Broussard nor Stein mention any western conference teams, and only give cursory mention to a third team.

The Miami Heat, sources said, have not yet booked a meeting with Howard in free agency, but could emerge as a more serious Howard suitor after registering preliminary interest in him.

Although not mentioned here, Howard has been linked to the Trail Blazers leading up to free agency moratorium, which begins Friday at 12:01 a.m. ET. It makes geographical sense for him to cut travel time by meandering through his Eastern Conference meetings before flying across the country to consider Portland.