Could head coach Mike D'Antoni, middle, be the reason Dwight Howard leaves the Lakers? (Facebook/ Los Angeles Lakers)
For the past three years the question still looms, “where will Dwight Howard play next season?” Even when the NBA woke up from their Dwight-Mare when Howard signed with the Los Angeles Lakers, his future was still uncertain.
It seems despite the Lakers’ pleas, Howard continues to weigh his options meeting with the Houston Rockets, Atlanta Hawks, Golden State Warriors and Dallas Mavericks. He met with the Lakers Tuesday afternoon.
Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, general manager Mitch Kupchak, executive vice president of player personnel Jim Buss and representatives from both AEG and Time Warner Cable met with Howard. If pleading was the only criteria, Howard was considering his future in purple and gold would be sealed.
“At the meeting, we told him how important he is to the Lakers team, franchise, fans and community, and why we feel this is the best place for him to continue his career,” Kupchak said in a statement. “We are hopeful that Dwight decides to remain a Laker”
Lakers president Jeanie Buss was not present at the meeting, but reached out to Howard via Twitter Tuesday morning.
“@DwightHoward Lakers offer 1) best opportunities for your playing & post-playing career 2) have BEST fans 3) I’m here for you #STAYD12”
From the “STAY #STAYD12” billboards to personal calls from Jack Nicholson, it seems the Lakers have thought of everything. Well now the pitches are done, promises have been made and the pressure now shifts to Howard.
The highly sought after free-agent will think everything over and hopes to make a decision by Friday, according to a close source who spoke with ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Still despite the good impressions and max contract offers, Howard’s future is still up in the air.
Regardless of where he will land at the end of his “Dwight Flight” one thing is clear: The franchise he decides to play for next season will expect nothing less than a championship. He will be the franchise center, his team was his choice, his terms will have (ideally) been met and now it will be on him to produce. No excuses.
The Lakers can easily outbid any team. They’re able to offer Howard $30 million more than any other team could. However, if this was about money, Howard would have already made it known he would stay in L.A.
On June 30 Bryant tweeted out, “Start of free agency is always interesting..Many teams. Only one Lakers #goldenarmor #FreeAgency #LA #bleedgold”
It’s unclear if Howard feels the same.