Skip to content

Will Dwight Howard stay with Lakers after season? Yes. Probably.

Oct 22, 2012, 3:03 PM EDT

Sacramento Kings v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

We didn’t need John Cusack driving across country with Daphne Zuniga to teach us there are no sure things in life. Unexpected twists turn what seem predestined into something all together different every day.

So sure, it is possible that come next summer when Dwight Howard becomes a free agent he will choose not to re-sign with the Lakers. Maybe the Kobe Bryant and Howard relationship blows up mid-season. Maybe Steve Nash goes Gilbert Arenas in Howard’s shoe. Maybe a lot of things. But none of them are likely.

You should bet that Dwight Howard will sign a max free agent contract with the Lakers next summer (it is financially in his interest to become a free agent then re-sign rather than extend, thank you new CBA). He stays in L.A.

Nobody around him is saying it’s a certainty, because you don’t want to paint yourself into a corner, but all the whispers out of the usually talkative Howard camp are that he wants to remain a Laker. He has hinted in tweets he isn’t going anywhere.

The Lakers have a few things on their side in keeping Dwight. One is guaranteed money — they have Howard’s Bird rights and can offer larger raises and a fifth guaranteed year on his contract. No other team could do that. And while the money isn’t enough to keep him if he wanted out, an extra locked in year is a nice bit of stability.

Second, the Lakers in Los Angeles can offer the kind of exposure, the kind of marketing opportunities other markets (outside New York) simply cannot. Howard likes the spotlight, he wants to be loved by fans, and he wants to do television and movies. While he’d be smart to keep his head down for a little bit and just play basketball after how his move out of Orlando hurt his PR, the Lakers can offer him a stage few other teams can.

The Lakers can also offer a chance at a ring. For the next two seasons at least, the Lakers will be considered serious title contenders. There is still the mountain to climb that is Miami, and getting by the Thunder will be far from easy, but the Lakers are talking titles right now. Then in two summers the Lakers have the opportunity to restructure the roster again around Howard (and Steve Nash for one more season) with a lot of cap space. Howard is not going to land in a spot where he is more likely to win titles.

Finally, there is the image issue. Howard damaged his brand with his terrible handling of how he left the Orlando Magic. When people are saying you handled your exit worse than LeBron James, you did it very wrong. But how you fix that image is to win games on the court and be likeable off it (Howard doesn’t have the personality to go with the Kobe Bryant “go ahead and hate me, I don’t care” attitude). To start a free agent bidding process this summer is to stir up all the muck that is just starting to settle. The smart move is to stay in Los Angeles and win rings. Ask Kobe and LeBron what that can do for your image.

With all that stacked up, it’s difficult to see Howard bolting Los Angeles this summer to play for the Mavericks or another side with cap space.

Never say never. But from the word out of his camp to just plain logic, it’s hard not to see him staying with the Lakers.

Latest Posts
  1. Kenyon Martin announces retirement from professional basketball

    Jul 2, 2015, 11:31 PM EDT

    Milwaukee Bucks v Orlando Magic Getty Images

    Martin had hoped to return full-time last season, but the opportunity never materialized.

  2. Report: Kings offer Wes Matthews three-year deal in $64 million range

    Jul 2, 2015, 10:34 PM EDT

    New York Knicks v Portland Trail Blazers Getty Images

    Sacramento needs to overpay much more than that to lure free agents.

  3. Report: Robin Lopez discussing $12 million per year deal with Knicks; Lakers also a consideration

    Jul 2, 2015, 9:22 PM EDT

    New York Knicks v Portland Trail Blazers Getty Images

    Lopez is solid, and New York and L.A. need talent after striking out with the big names thus far.

  4. Report: Wizards trading for Bucks’ Jared Dudley

    Jul 2, 2015, 7:07 PM EDT

    Jared Dudley, Alexis Ajinca Jared Dudley, Alexis Ajinca

    The Wizards will only give up a future second-rounder.

  5. Report: Miami Heat’s Pat Riley will get dinner to try and woo LaMarcus Aldridge

    Jul 2, 2015, 4:37 PM EDT

    Portland Trail Blazers AP

    It would take an unlikely sign-and-trade to make it happen.

  6. Report: Tristan Thompson and Cavaliers reportedly apart in contract talks

    Jul 2, 2015, 3:11 PM EDT

    2015 NBA Finals - Game Five Getty Images

    Thompson and Cleveland were reportedly nearing $80 million-plus deal yesterday

  7. Tim Duncan says he’s not retiring

    Jul 2, 2015, 2:06 PM EDT

    San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Seven Getty Images

    Now, can the Spurs get LaMarcus Aldridge to complement him?

  8. Report: Pistons signing Aron Baynes away from Spurs for up to $20 million over three years

    Jul 2, 2015, 1:45 PM EDT

    Andre Drummond, Aron Baynes AP

    Baynes will reportedly get three-year deal with player option

  9. Report: Pacers agree to four-year, $44 million contract with Monta Ellis

    Jul 2, 2015, 1:23 PM EDT

    Donald Sloan, Monta Ellis AP

    Indiana shouldn’t feel good about this, even if it was their best option at this point

Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. L. Aldridge (5446)
  2. D. Wade (4944)
  3. L. James (3891)
  4. J. Embiid (3793)
  5. G. Monroe (3347)
  1. K. Bryant (3309)
  2. T. Harris (3252)
  3. K. Love (3189)
  4. J. Butler (2944)
  5. D. Jordan (2652)