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Stan Van Gundy puts chances at ’50-50 or worse’ that the Lakers can retain Dwight Howard after this season

Jan 26, 2013, 12:30 PM EDT

Orlando Magic v New York Knicks Getty Images

The Lakers momentarily stopped the bleeding on Friday, playing smart and together in an easy 102-84 home victory over a decent Utah Jazz squad.

The team will need a lot more performances like that one just to sneak into the playoffs this season, and the way the rest of the year plays out will have long-term consequences on the way the franchise looks over the next several years.

Dwight Howard, as you may have heard, will be an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of this season. The Lakers traded for him believing that his re-signing in Los Angeles was a virtual certainty, given the storied history in Los Angeles, the perfect weather, and the chance to play for a team that does its best to field a championship-contending roster every single year.

But with the disastrous way things have started for this star-stacked Lakers team, along with the hiring of Mike D’Antoni, whose offense doesn’t traditionally feature its post players, Howard may consider other options more closely when the time comes.

His former coach, Stan Van Gundy, sees the chances of Howard remaining in Los Angeles as no more than a 50-50 proposition.

From David Baumann of ESPN Radio 1080 in Orlando:

I asked Stan Van Gundy if he thinks Dwight Howard will be wearing a Lakers jersey by the end of the season: “That’s going to be an interesting thing,” Van Gundy said. “I think they will keep him for the rest of the year. I think they still think they’ve got a lot to offer and can re-sign him. So, I think he’ll be there for the rest of the year, but I think it’s ’50-50′ or maybe even worse odds for the Lakers that they can retain him at the end of the year and if they realize that, you could see them make a move at the trading deadline.”

The Lakers have no plans to trade Howard at this stage, but Van Gundy has point, here.

If the team comes to the realization that Howard leaving is more likely than him staying, they would be wise to see what they could get for him before the Feb. 21 deadline passes.

The worst thing for the Lakers would be to see some improvement in the coming weeks which encourages them to keep the roster intact, only to see the team revert to its losing ways in the second half of the season, which could negatively impact Howard’s chances of staying.

The reality right now is that Howard doesn’t know what he wants, and likely won’t before the book on this season is closed. It’s almost certain that the Lakers will keep Howard through the end of the year, but predicting the future beyond that is essentially impossible.

  1. echech88 - Jan 26, 2013 at 12:40 PM

    Pretty sure most Laker fans wouldn’t care. Personality doesn’t mesh well with big market media scrutiny. Too insecure to be a leader.

  2. youngmouth83 - Jan 26, 2013 at 12:51 PM

    your are so wrong laker fans care
    I been a lakerfan since showtime days.
    I think if shaq work with Howard it will help him be more aggressive get rid of that damn head coach we still have a slim chance of make the playoffs as 8th seed

    • biasedhomer - Jan 26, 2013 at 1:33 PM

      Why would Shaq want to work with Howard while he is on the Lakers?
      Last thing Shaq wants to see is Kobe on a successful team.

    • 24thesho - Jan 27, 2013 at 6:12 AM

      I think if you are getting paid that much money, no one should have to be working with you on your game. In a perfect world, I bet you if they got rid of Howard and D’Dantoni and got DeMarcus Cousins right now, they would at least make the playoffs. Not get past the first round but they’d make it there.

    • somekat - Jan 27, 2013 at 8:58 AM

      well known Shaq is not a D12 fan. Doubt he’d come in to coaching to help out D12

      Kareem? Maybe, Shaq? No

  3. luz56 - Jan 26, 2013 at 1:03 PM

    Hollywood Fakers are in big trouble for the next couple years….blow it all up if you can and get some value back. Gasol, DH, KB, Nash… Sounds great but the movie sucks!

    • musician0785 - Jan 26, 2013 at 1:06 PM

      when will people realize that calling the Lakers the fakers or the flakers IS NOT CLEVER….you’re not a wordsmith…..just a guy with a limited imagination

      • cosanostra71 - Jan 26, 2013 at 1:23 PM

        whatever… haters gonna hate. You know their fandom is pathetic when they root harder for another team’s failure than they do for their won team’s success.

      • mytthor - Jan 26, 2013 at 5:28 PM

        I don’t think you realize the brilliance of what they’re doing. The actual letter is an L – but they replace it with a DIFFERENT letter, and thereby it becomes a different word! Does that help explain it?

    • bucrightoff - Jan 26, 2013 at 1:59 PM

      Hey remember when the worst case scenario this year (at least according to Laker fans) was 65 wins for them? Whoops

      • limonadamas - Jan 26, 2013 at 3:50 PM

        People like you need to stop making things up. Whoever said the “worst case scenario was 65 wins” this year? BS.

        Laker fans were excited about their team this year (and sure, a few are annoying), but honestly, wouldn’t anyone have been excited if they had that roster going into the season? Anyone who said they wouldn’t have been at least intrigued with the potential is either lying or is an “OKC/MIA/SAS or some-other-better-team-going-into-the-season” fan.

      • lyndseymarieee - Jan 26, 2013 at 4:19 PM

        I saw comments like that. Maybe not 65 wins exactly but you give or take a few.

        I’m definitely not a Lakers fan but I was excited to see them play with how stacked their roster is. Now? Not so much.

  4. BigBeachBall - Jan 26, 2013 at 1:14 PM

    Van gundy to phoenix…

  5. braven4evr - Jan 26, 2013 at 2:00 PM

    Who cares what jvg says or thinks?

    • jolink653 - Jan 26, 2013 at 5:31 PM

      Yeah, apparently even the writer of this article didn’t care what Jeff Van Gundy thought either

  6. mgscott - Jan 26, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    It’s been at least 45 minutes since he has talked about dwight howard

  7. chargerdillon - Jan 26, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    Certain players have killer instinct, certain players don’t. Dwight does not have it, Lebron does not have it. The difference between Dwight and Lebron is that Lebron continues to improve his game, and Dwight supposed to be in his prime still can’t hit a free throw.

    While neither of them possess killer instinct, one of them still continues to improve his game which is a sign of a true champion.

    Dwight is just like Mike Vick, he lets his natural physical gifts make him a star while not working as hard as possible to improve on his weak points.

    I like Dwight, but he never was destined to be the type of star that stays in LA. The Lakers DEMAND killer instinct in their leader, look at their former champions and stars.

    Dwight is a great player in his prime, once he loses a step, he’ll be below average with below average supporting skills.

  8. remyje - Jan 26, 2013 at 3:05 PM

    Lakers groupies recently have been using “haters gonna hate” a lot.. but I don’t think anyone is “hating”…. we are all laughing lmao

  9. david407 - Jan 26, 2013 at 3:09 PM

    Van Gundy said this like a month ago. This is not news

  10. yousuxxors - Jan 26, 2013 at 3:19 PM

    trade howard for love straight up

  11. nawlinsmitty - Jan 26, 2013 at 3:26 PM

    All of the crap we hear year in and year out from Laker fans, and now they can’t handle the criticism when their team sucks. What a big bunch of babies!

  12. coltzfan166 - Jan 26, 2013 at 3:37 PM

    Just get Phil Jackson. That’s who Howard wanted in the first place. Not D’Antonio.

  13. knickstape84 - Jan 26, 2013 at 3:40 PM

    Everyone says fire the Coach like they haven’t fired one already. Dantoni isn’t the main problem. Laker fans act like they were good be fore Dantoni came in. Losing Hill and Blake hurt this team. They have NO bench. Guys don’t want to accept roles. Kobe playing keep away with the basketball. Injuries to Gasoline Howard and Nash. Steve Nash not being able to guard his own shadow. Kobe trying to play freelance defense while leaving his man gambling on defense. Other guys not rotating properly on defense. Than throw in Dantonis Coaching style. With a Isolation type player in Kobe. These dudes don’t fit his system. Trade Howard NOW…. Took Brooklyn Houston or Denver. The Knicks could take him but it would bye bye Chandler and right now Chandler is playing much better than him from an impact…. They are not trading Kobe and there not getting better without a trade. Gasol isn’t getting you a shooter and a big back. His value is down. The Lakers got to make move NOW to salvage the season. Dallas Portland Houston and Utah are who they got to fight with for one of the last 2 spots they can get in there with some crafty moves on the trade market. Plus Kobe contract is killing them Jesus Christ….

  14. raidmagic - Jan 26, 2013 at 4:02 PM

    I don’t care about this Laker drama anymore but that picture makes me sad for what my Magic have become….

  15. starvingardens - Jan 26, 2013 at 4:09 PM

    I think the Warriors would welcome him. Trade Bogut and Barnes and a few other pieces for him.

  16. weaselpuppy - Jan 26, 2013 at 4:10 PM

    Nash is a shell of his former self, Gasol is in free fall, Kobe has a couple year left in the tank and Howard is mentally ill. No youth, non quickness, no killer instinct and all the role players are old and about ready for the glue factory too. Lakers could be a perennial cellar dweller as early as next year.

    • mazblast - Jan 27, 2013 at 12:27 AM

      That would break the freaking hearts of fans throughout the league.

  17. rickyspanish - Jan 26, 2013 at 5:22 PM


    This “killer instinct” jibber jabber is nonsense. How do you quantify it? That argument is tired, LeBo sure dominated the playoffs last year, how was he able to do that without this “instinct” you speak of?

    • cramsinned - Jan 26, 2013 at 6:25 PM

      LBJ doesn’t have killer instinct. If he does, he will not score 40 when they’re down 2-3 on indiana or 45 on the elimination game against Boston.

      • cramsinned - Jan 26, 2013 at 6:30 PM

        “If he does, he will score 40 when they’re down 2-3 on indiana or 45 on the elimination game against Boston.”

  18. eugenesaxe - Jan 26, 2013 at 5:53 PM

    They gave up a guy who can’t get on the court to get him, so no big loss. Lose howard, say bye-bye to Kobe when his contract runs out and rebuild from scratch, the smart way.

  19. jeff6381 - Jan 26, 2013 at 6:54 PM

    Howard should get out of L.A. as quick as he can. He doesn’t fit that system and him playing with Kobe just isn’t a good fit. The only way I see him coming back is for the money but they will never win a championship together.

  20. halfbaht - Jan 26, 2013 at 11:52 PM

    An I the only one who’s expecting dwight to be rocking a rockets jersey next season?

    • badintent - Jan 27, 2013 at 1:54 AM

      I would love to see Lin, harden and Howard in Oil City.Then they could beat on thee lakers several times a year in the West.

  21. monkeyhateclean - Jan 27, 2013 at 3:20 AM

    He’s a self-absorbed coach-killer who needs to be yanked in close games because he can’t hit free-throws.

    7 footer or not, who’s gonna pay a premium for that?

  22. omniusprime - Jan 27, 2013 at 8:48 AM

    Stan Van Gundy may well be correct. That little idiot buss boy brought in the worst possible coach for Howard and the Lakers in Dumbtoni. Just really stupid of Jerky Boy Jimmy to bring in a small ball coach to a team with Howard and Gasol because Dumbtoni’s ignorant system doesn’t fit the players. That’s why the Lakers have such talent on the floor but don’t have the wins they should have had they gotten a great coach like Phil Jackson.

    If the Lakers stupidly retain Dumbtoni then I wouldn’t blame Howard for bailing out on the Lakers, as a fan I’m ready to bail out on the Lakers after over 40 years as a loyal fan. Daddy Buss needs to understand that his worthless brat is trying to destroy Daddy;s legacy of winning with big men by doing it his way, the idiot small ball way.

    I’ll be rooting for OKC to deliver a real behind whupping to the Lakers today, maybe that will help get Dumbtoni fired.

    Fire Dumbtoni!!! Trade Away Trash Nash!!! Trade Away Steve Flake!!! We Want Pau!!! We Want Howard!!!

    • mazblast - Jan 27, 2013 at 10:54 AM

      Sigh. Let’s try it again–

      In order to make a trade, you have to find someone who wants to make a trade, and you have to offer something the other guy wants. You can say, “trade Pau”, “trade Howard”, “trade Nash”, “trade [whoever]” all you want, but if no one wants them (and their contracts), it’s not going to happen.

      I keep saying this, but Laker fans just don’t listen. They’re probably too busy looking in the mirror, seeing if it’s time for another Botox treatment.

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