Skip to content

Report: Dwight Howard to talk to other teams besides Lakers this summer

Apr 28, 2013, 11:59 AM EDT

San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Lakers - Game Three Getty Images

The Lakers knew this when they traded for Dwight Howard last summer — under the terms of the new CBA it makes financial sense for a max player to play out his current deal and become a free agent then re-sign with the same team than it does to sign an extension to a deal and never hit the open market. Said player can get one more guaranteed year and larger raises if he becomes a free agent and re-signs than if he signs an extension.

But that means players have to become free agents for a stretch and other teams can approach them.

Howard will become a free agent this summer and is going to talk to other teams besides the Lakers, reports Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com.

According to several sources familiar with Howard’s thinking, Howard will likely explore free agency before reaching his final decision. In today’s media landscape, that means there will be a circus in July while Howard hears pitches from the likes of the Dallas Mavericks and Cleveland Cavaliers.

I’d throw the Houston Rockets in that mix, as well. Atlanta will want to be in the mix but word out of Howard’s camp consistently has been he doesn’t want to go back home. Of course, the Lakers will call him at midnight July 1 with a max offer as well.

Let’s talk money first, because it’s always about the money.

Howard is a lock for a max deal. The difference in money is the Lakers can offer an expected five years, $118 million, other teams coming in could offer four years, $87.6 million. (Those numbers could move a little once the new salary cap levels are set for next season, but said cap is expected to be in the $60 million range). That’s about a $30 million difference, for those of you scoring at home. You can say for a player who has made more than $100 million in his career (and likely will get one more max deal after this one) that the money isn’t the biggest issue, but would you leave $30 million guaranteed on the table? In a year after you felt your basketball mortality after struggling to return from back surgery?

Now the big question: Would Dwight Howard leave the Lakers?

I doubt it. Clearly his first year in Los Angeles didn’t go as smoothly as he hoped — he rushed back from back surgery and didn’t play up to his standards, and he heard about it from the demanding Lakers fan base. He and Kobe Bryant had to adjust to each other, the Lakers switched coaches this season, Howard fought through a torn labrum, injuries ravaged the team, and the Lakers will be bounced from the NBA playoffs in the first round, likely on Sunday.

You can look at all that, say Howard didn’t have fun and that he could go to Houston with James Harden or Dallas with Dirk Nowitzki or Cleveland with Kyrie Irving and win. And maybe be happier. For Howard basketball has to be fun for him to play his best and he might think he will have more fun in another market with another star.

Here is why I think he doesn’t leave — image.

Howard is still trying to rehabilitate a public image that took a hit after the ugly way he left Orlando. To move again away from one of the NBA’s premiere franchises to go to a lesser light will not help that — he’s be painted as the guy who could not fill the shoes of Miken, Wilt, Kareem and Shaq. Go to Dallas or Houston and you go from a place where the Lakers are kings of the market to a place where football is king and basketball gets a lesser spotlight. Leave and his reputation as indecisive continues.

Winning is how Howard fixes that image. Howard knows the Lakers would have everybody but himself and Steve Nash off the books in the summer of 2014 — they can reshape the roster to win with him as the focus. The Lakers have said they want him to take the reins of the franchise from Kobe Bryant in the coming years (ideally Kobe would cede a little of that power next season to a healthy Howard). Most of all, you know the Lakers can draw free agents and spend in a way few other teams can to win. He’s not leaving to go somewhere else and have a better chance at a ring.

But we all want to be wanted. So Howard is going to flirt with other teams besides the Lakers this summer.

  1. hpeters77 - Apr 28, 2013 at 8:10 PM

    Pelicans can use u

  2. jimeejohnson - Apr 28, 2013 at 9:15 PM

    Miami Heat or NY Knicks.

    • jt1138 - Apr 28, 2013 at 10:50 PM

      No thank you. We don’t want that cancer.

    • powerpc20 - Apr 29, 2013 at 3:47 PM

      We already have our center: BIRDMAN!

  3. drewzducks - Apr 28, 2013 at 9:26 PM

    This summer? How about the 3rd quarter. Once a quitter always a quitter. He should stay and take the max deal. Perfect Laker.

  4. zblott - Apr 28, 2013 at 9:47 PM

    Who hasn’t Kobe driven away or upset on the Lakers? Shaq couldn’t wait to leave the franchise he made great. Phil wrote a book about Kobe tearing up the ’04 team. He’s pissed Pau off to no end and has clearly interfered with every part of the big man’s growth and confidence. KG didn’t want to join the Lakers because of Kobe. He’s been publicly at odds with his teammates from the bad teams in the middle years for some unknown/petty reason. Dwight didn’t want to join the Lakers and is now looking to get out as quick as he can. If you’ve ever seen “Kobe Doin’ Work,” you know his aloof attitude causes his teammates to be confused when he actually talks to them, and everyone’s seen what he does to his teammates on the court when they’re attempting to play as a team.

    Stars should be clamoring to get on the Lakers and stay there…hasn’t happened in over a decade.

  5. rohlo - Apr 28, 2013 at 11:43 PM

    rockets will get him!!..regardless a max contrac in houston minus 1 year as it can be offered in LA will be about even..reason being is that taxes are really really high in cali….there is no state income tax in texas….it would be a wash.. lakers are not contenders with just dwight and this is the age of 2 to 3 star per team…kobe wont be back for 1st half of season or longer and wont be right as it takes a while to rehab even when he gets back trying to get acclimated again…lakers have alot of money tied up in pau,kobe and co..

  6. mgutz - Apr 29, 2013 at 4:00 AM

    Don’t let the door hit you on the way out! Maybe Lakers will be respectable again when they get real team players.

  7. denverdude7 - Apr 29, 2013 at 8:13 AM

    Dear Dwight,

    Come to Cleveland and win the championship that Bron-Bron didn’t have guts to stick around for.

    Signed,
    Cavalier Nation

  8. gmsingh - Apr 29, 2013 at 8:36 AM

    Which team is most in need of a prima donna?

  9. omniusprime - Apr 29, 2013 at 9:28 AM

    Howard will certainly say “show me the money” and only the Lakers can show him the real money so I expect that after some dallying with listening to other teams Dwight will do what’s best for Dwight and resign with the Lakers.

    Sorry denverdummie7 but Howard won’t go to some garbage pit like Cleveland after playing in LA, you’d be better off becoming a Laker fan if you ever want to root for a team that wins titles and can afford premium players like Dwight.

    It will be interesting to see if Kobe gives up some money to ensure Howard stays and the Lakers bring in a better bench. Plus we need to better, younger point guards so our team can match up better against the younger more athletic teams.

    Fire Dumbtoni!!! Keep Howard & Gasol!!! Trade Trash Nash & Steve Flake!!! Get Well Kobe!!! Thanks Dr. Buss!!!

  10. djred34 - Apr 29, 2013 at 10:38 AM

    Him and Josh Smith need to sign with Atlanta!

  11. pdidit09 - Apr 29, 2013 at 2:54 PM

    If Mark Cuban does not land Dwight Howard this off season, then it can be said without any doubt he let our championship team go help out other teams win championships. Jet is a damn Maverick doing what he does. Jason Kidd, period. Brandon Bass, biggest loss of all TYSON CHANDLER, we had a championship team!

  12. ddwayneg - May 1, 2013 at 1:58 PM

    Dwight Howard is the Terrell Owens of the NBA. We’re going to start seeing him traded every few years until everyone realizes you can have all the talent in the world, but with a bad attitude you’ll never be a champion. He needs to spend a summer with the Zen Master and some self-help books.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

Why can't Lakers have a player-coach?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. L. James (4089)
  2. K. Love (4037)
  3. D. Rose (3806)
  4. K. Bryant (2664)
  5. R. Allen (2334)
  1. C. Anthony (2195)
  2. K. Durant (2155)
  3. B. Griffin (2014)
  4. E. Bledsoe (1999)
  5. D. Wade (1886)