The Los Angeles Lakers and Dwight Howard stayed busy this past summer. While other teams and players relaxed, reflected on the prior season, and mentally prepared themselves for what was to come, L.A. and the best center in basketball dealt with all of the media scrutiny and headaches that come standard with looming transactions.
Ultimately, when it was all said and done, the Lakers put together a blockbuster four-team trade that netted them Howard.
At the time, the general consensus seemed to be that barring something catastrophic happening, this was a marriage that would stick. Howard loved the city. The city loved talented centers. Howard wanted to win. The Lakers, once upon a time, were winners. It worked on all levels. There was really no reason at all to believe that Howard, who is due to become a free agent this summer, would contemplate heading elsewhere when the year wrapped.
Today, Howard’s future with the Lakers looks a lot less certain than it did a few months ago. While it still makes the most sense (financial and otherwise) for him to remain with L.A. regardless of how this season turns out, there is no denying that Howard has more of a reason to leave the Lakers for greener pastures now than he did when he first arrived. The team isn’t very good and, unfortunately, it won’t be in a position to improve itself substantially for at least two years. (Because of the salary cap.)
Recently, Howard spoke with T.J. Simers of the Los Angeles Times regarding his future. Here is an interesting excerpt from that piece:
Howard will be a free agent at the end of this season. I ask him if he knows now where he will be playing next year, and he says, "I know."
I suggest that means the Lakers because he could not know of any other opportunity at this time. But I still make a pitch for the Clippers, figuring he might want to play for the best team in town.
He laughs, and when I suggest that some opine that if this season falls apart it will persuade him to leave, he says that's not the case.
He says the Lakers are all about championships, and "what's not to like about L.A.?"
Based on his responses there, it definitely seems like Howard is leaning towards staying in Tinseltown. If the Lakers keep losing, though, who knows.
(Kudos Los Angeles Times)