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Dwight Howard still sounds like guy staying in LA

Dec 3, 2012, 8:46 AM EST

Orlando Magic v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

Dwight Howard’s arrival in Los Angeles has stumbled out of the gate on the court — missed training camp due to back surgery recover, missed free throws, missed opportunities.

But he still sounds like a happy guy. One who isn’t going anywhere.

Dwight Howard will be a free agent this summer but pretty much everyone around the league expects him to re-sign with the Lakers. And from what he told Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLA.com.

“From one to 10? I’d give it a good 12. I love it. It’s been a lot of fun,” Howard said. “Just everything here, from the practices, the motivation of everybody here is championship, that’s what we need…

“I like the direction we’re headed. We’ve had some tough losses but we’ll learn and we’ll grow from it. We’re going to stick together.”

Honestly, wherever Howard landed he was likely to stay. Even Houston, which he said he didn’t want to go to. The bottom line is after the PR disaster of how he left Orlando he didn’t want to go into a free agent bidding war and damage his reputation more.

But landing in Los Angeles — a major media market with the off the court opportunities he wants and for a franchise that traditionally is one of the top in the NBA — makes it easier. He’s not going anywhere next summer.

So now he can focus on shoring up that Lakers defense, which was ugly against Orlando.

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