Dwight Howard Reportedly Expected to Re-Sign With the Lakers

by April 15, 2013

The Los Angeles Lakers have two enormous question marks to deal with this summer — Kobe Bryant’s recovery from surgery to repair a ruptured left Achilles’ tendon, and Dwight Howard’s looming free agency. According to USA Today, an answer about one of the two has begun to emerge. Dwight Howard is expected to stay in Hollywood, according to the report: “While the center who will be a free agent this summer has continued his noncommittal stance about whether he will sign with the Lakers or head elsewhere, two people close to him said they fully expect him to return. The people spoke on the condition of anonymity out of respect for Howard’s decision to wait until the summer to make his final choice. In that silver lining sense for the Lakers and their distraught fans, their playoff push that has come down to the final days of the regular season may simply a preview of the years ahead. ‘It’s almost like you’re envisioning yourself three years from now, four years from now, what is that (like)?’ Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said regarding Howard now playing without Bryant. ‘Well the future is now. I think he’s up to the challenge.’ But Howard is notorious for his indecisive ways, meaning there’s always a chance his outlook could change by the time July rolls around. The Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets and even the Phoenix Suns ā€” who could make room for a maximum contract salary with a few minor roster moves ā€” are hoping that’s the case. […] The financial factor certainly comes into play, as Howard’s maximum extension with the Lakers would be for five years and $117.9 million while all other teams only could give him a four-year, $87.8 million contract. The smart money, it seems, is on him staying. […] D’Antoni has a hard time looking past the next few days because of the task at hand, but said he’s confident Howard will ultimately see the many benefits of staying put come free agency time. ‘You wonder a little bit (about his decision), but our whole focus and job now is to make the best of the situation right now, and then he’ll make that decision and he’ll make the best one for him,’ D’Antoni said. ‘But again, in my (mind) it doesn’t get any better than this…You know what? You go through some stuff, but it has worked out. I’m happy with the team, where they are mentally. I’m happy with the situation and I feel pretty good about our possibilities.'”