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Dwight Howard stays mum on future. Which is what he should do.

Feb 5, 2013, 12:50 PM EDT

Dwight Howard AP

Since the day he set foot in Los Angeles there has been only one thing Dwight Howard could do to win over fans and repair his reputation — play well and win a lot of games for the Lakers.

On the season, both Howard and the Lakers have not played up to expectations. Anywhere near them. He is out again Tuesday night with his nagging shoulder injury.

Now with the Lakers having won five of six, he would be foolish to play the “what if?” or “what’s next?” games as the Lakers head into Brooklyn Tuesday night. You know, the city and team he tried to get traded to.

Stephen A. Smith of ESPN tried to find out about Howard’s next steps in a very Stephen A. Smith interview (which you can see below, thanks to the Kamentzky Brothers for finding that). Howard’s response was always a variant of “I’m focused on winning and getting into the playoffs, not on the future.”

“I understand, you know, what the Lakers want, and I also understand that right now, there’s no need for all the circus, and all the stuff that happened last year to start back up. I don’t want it, my team doesn’t need it, I don’t need it, and frankly, our fans don’t need it neither.”

Is that going to stop all the talk? No. Not even close.

With the trade deadline approaching there are a lot of people trying to sell the rumor that the Lakers might shop Howard and trade him. That rumor dies the second you talk to Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak or to anyone who asked the Lakers about Howard and was basically hung up on. Howard isn’t getting traded.

The Lakers maintain their goal is to re-sign Howard this summer. Howard isn’t talking.

But what else is Howard going to say? If he says he wants to test the free agent waters than there will be months of stories and speculation about him leaving the Lakers and where he might go. If he says he is staying he locks himself into that outcome without seeing how his relationships with Kobe Bryant and Mike D’Antoni play out over the course of a full season.

I bet he stays. I think he re-signs with the Lakers on a max deal this summer and he and Kobe and D’Antoni start to figure it out. I’d bet on a Pau Gasol trade this summer — the Lakers need athletes and shooters for D’Antoni — but it’s not something that will happen now. After a season of injuries and coaching changes and general instability, the Lakers have won five of six and they are not about to start shaking things up again right now.

But that’s not about to slow the speculation train. Not a bit.

  1. 00maltliquor - Feb 5, 2013 at 1:24 PM

    I call total B.S. on Dwight when he said he shot 90% at the FT line in high school! Someone PUH-LEEEEZE bring up that record!

    • aboogy123456 - Feb 5, 2013 at 1:54 PM

      what he doesn’t understand is that there IS a correct way to shoot free throws. Great shooters look different but they have the same fundamentals on their free throws: high release, follow through, use fingertips, etc.. These are things he doesn’t do.

      I hate hearing Dwight say it’s only mental, and that he needs to do it his own way or he starts thinking too much. Why doesn’t he start listening to other people so he can actually improve!? A big difference between Dwight and Bynum is that Dwight loves basketball while Bynum clearly doesn’t, but Bynum is much smarter when it comes to figuring out how to be better and improving his skills.

  2. thebigkahuna23 - Feb 5, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    He needs to go play in China or to whatever foreign team throws huge bucks at him. It’s a win for everybody.

    Dwight gets to go somewhere that all he has to do is dunk and block a couple shots. Everybody loves him and everybody is impressed, not to mention the NBA who eventually misses him after a year or two and he comes bak.

    The Lakers orginization get to pass the buck of the failure on to “hey dwight Howard is all weird he went overseas to play what the eff is wrong with him.”

    And we the fans get the best pleasure of all. No dwight for at least a year. And while we get all the benefits of a vacant dwight Howard we still get some YouTube and grainy sportscenter clips.

  3. crtzinc - Feb 5, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    If Pau will ultimately accept his role coming off the bench I believe the best move is to keep him. He is not only insurance for a Dwight injury but great replacement coming in for Howard. He is averaging more points and touches off the bench plus playing a boatload of minutes still. He knows this. As long as Kobe is willing to run the point and get everyone involved this can work as it has been recently.

  4. hoodheisman - Feb 5, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    Be real interesting to see how the Lakers handle the impending exit of D’Antoni and his Napoleon Complex towards big men. Right now things have simmered down because they are winning. As much as I want to see them continue this win streak, there are too many cracks for me to get optimistic. The biggest is that a growing portion of the locker room (especially the front line) absolutely hates playing for D’Antoni. Gasol, Howard, and Jamison will not be back next season if D’Antoni is still around, and I certainly don’t blame them. I can’t stand listening to his stupid post-game comments when he tries to defend his broken system… and more and more players are taking their displeasure with his system to the media.

  5. eugenesaxe - Feb 5, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    howard would be best served by just keeping his mouth shut completely. He has a history of being an idiot.

  6. isujames - Feb 5, 2013 at 3:00 PM

    kermit the frog face says.

  7. davidly - Feb 5, 2013 at 3:05 PM

    Part of his rehab should have been coming off the bench for 10 to 20 minutes a game, focusing on the post for the second unit. Had they done that, he’d have been ready to start by now, a lot closer to full strength. And I doubt their record would’ve been any worse.

    Stephen A. clownin’ for real, tho’.

  8. thekingdave - Feb 5, 2013 at 4:17 PM

    You have a hat tip to someone for a Sportscenter interview that millions saw this morning? Ok.

  9. lawest111 - Feb 5, 2013 at 4:29 PM

    Dwight,

    If you don’t want a Circus, stop talking. You talk and talk and talk, just play basketball and get healthy.

    • mazblast - Feb 5, 2013 at 4:51 PM

      Or get healthy, then play basketball. Preferably with your mouth shut.

  10. paulhargis53 - Feb 5, 2013 at 6:22 PM

    So, you’re going to pay 2 coaches not to coach, plus another one? God, you people are freaking delusional!!

    Biggest homeristic, know nothing fanbase in all of pro sports.

  11. thestewman3 - Feb 5, 2013 at 9:42 PM

    Lebron kept mum and he was crucified for doing so. Damn if you do or don’t.

  12. cpfirish - Feb 6, 2013 at 1:21 AM

    Howard is a complete bum!! Should of stayed in Orlando instead of whining like a little baby.

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