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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. raidmagic - Apr 28, 2013 at 12:08 PM

    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    • doubledown44 - Apr 28, 2013 at 1:39 PM

      While I understand Kurt’s reasoning here regarding DH staying for image purposes, it would be a mistake for him to stay just for that reason. If he is unhappy in LA (and I’m saying IF because I don’t know), why would he sign up for five more years of that?

      I know a guy who was with this girl for a few years. He constantly talked about leaving her, how he wasn’t happy, etc. All of his friends got really sick of it. He finally left and met a new girl. He didn’t like the new girl all that much, but ended up staying with her way too long. You know why? Because he didn’t want it to seem like the problem was him after all the complaining he had done. He decided to try to make his way through the relationship and he was really unhappy. He eventually left her, dated a few other girls and finally found the love of his life.

      Howard’s reputation right now is mud. We can all agree on that. But staying in a situation where he might not be happy just for image reasons would be a terrible idea. If he gets in the right situation and plays well again, he will basically be forgiven (outside of Orlando and LA). And he might even find a way to be happy.

      • andrewproughcfe - Apr 28, 2013 at 3:43 PM

        >”While I understand Kurt’s reasoning here regarding DH staying for image purposes, it would be a mistake for him to stay just for that reason.”

        Also, the fact that the Lakers don’t look like they’ll be able to field a winner anytime soon. Dallas will have a ton of cap room to build around him, while both Houston and Cleveland have young superstars and excellent coaches.

    • emosnar - Apr 28, 2013 at 1:48 PM

      Dwight don’t want to come East again. He would be the 5th best center in the east (Lopez, Chandler, Hibbert, and Bynum then Howard. He is better staying equals in the West with McGee and Asik where he belong.

      • money2long - Apr 28, 2013 at 3:30 PM

        i was seriously giggling while reading this entire comment

      • money2long - Apr 28, 2013 at 3:31 PM

        absurd is the word that came to mind.

      • drewzducks - Apr 28, 2013 at 4:33 PM

        Bynum? Might as well have added Ewing and Smits.

      • raidmagic - Apr 28, 2013 at 4:42 PM

        HAAHAHA, you can’t be serious? There isn’t a big man in the league that has anything for a healthy Dwight. If you somehow morphed Lopez, Chandler and Hibbert into one person then you might be close. Sorry I watched him for 8 years in Orlando those guys have nothing for him. I’m not even a bitter Magic fan that guy is talented.

    • badintent - Apr 28, 2013 at 10:27 PM

      PBT quote of the Week !!

  2. chargerdillon - Apr 28, 2013 at 12:11 PM

    Dwight Howard like no other Laker before him has ever made me so apathetic about the team. Is happy go-lucky attitude is unacceptable, this is not Orlando where mediocrity is common, clearly he’s spent most of his career in a system where he’s coddled and allowed to act any way he wants.

    Whether he goes or stays, can’t say I really care. And quite frankly I can’t say he really cares about it either.

    • kinggw - Apr 28, 2013 at 2:33 PM

      Get over yourself. Its a child’s game and its supposed to be fun. If your a Laker fan you are lying if you say you dont care if he goes.

      With Howard, the Lakers at least have the appearance of a championship level team. Next year without him, and with just Gasol and Kobe missing the the 1st half, probably wont even be a playoff team. Lakers fans better learn to love Howard because there will be no savior walking through that door in 2014.

  3. patfic15 - Apr 28, 2013 at 12:12 PM

    Yes..he’s been painted as the next great big, but let’s be honest, he’s not. The center position is a dying one in the NBA. He’s biggest competition just missed the year. Howards greatest opponent is his limited offensive repertoire. I know its an old argument but the kid would’ve been destroyed in the 80s and 90s. Yeah, different era now, but in an NBA that Howard could dominate, he just doesnt.

    • lakerluver - Apr 28, 2013 at 12:35 PM

      I don’t necessarily agree that he would’ve been destroyed in the 80’s and 90’s. When healthy, he’s an athletic freak, I think that would translate to any era. I do agree that he is not the number 1 option on a championship team. However, the LAKERS can win a title with Dwight, provided they surround him with another scorer, or two. Every team could use a shot blocking, rebounding machine in the middle. Dwight doesn’t have to score 30 a night to dominate games. 20, 15 & 3 will do just fine. Honestly, he would be perfect with James Harden. Of course as a LAKERS fan I hope he stays.

      • gswgoboom - Apr 28, 2013 at 1:55 PM

        The LAKERS are a joke of a franchise. Just look at their fairweather fans. Have fun looking up at the Clips and the WARRIORS for the foreseeable future. And watch game 4 of the Dubs/Nuggets series tonight so you can get a glimpse of what real fans are like.

        GSW GO BOOM!

      • 00maltliquor - Apr 28, 2013 at 2:47 PM

        @ gswgoboom

        You better enjoy this playoff appearance now, cause just like your last one, this is a one and done. It’ll be a while before they make it again. I am not even kidding or trying to troll, bet that. And remember you heard it here first. Boom!

      • gswgoboom - Apr 28, 2013 at 3:15 PM

        Did I hurt the bandwagon Lakers fans feelings? Is your team even going to win a playoff game? Didn’t think so…

      • chargerdillon - Apr 28, 2013 at 3:53 PM

        In all fairness I appreciate gswgoboom. This is his time to run his mouth, as a fan his team IS BETTER, and there’s nothing wrong with being proud of that. As a Laker fan, I own how bad I think the team is, and just like gswgoboom, I go with the ups and the downs of my team.

        I do get the fairweather stuff he talks about because it goes with most teams that are big winners.

        Keep talking your crap and just know the Lakers will rise again!!!!! *shakes fist*

      • loungefly74 - Apr 28, 2013 at 9:17 PM

        its all good. Lakers will be back!

      • powerpc20 - Apr 29, 2013 at 3:57 PM

        The Warriors at this moment have a MUCH brighter future than the Lakers do. Who would you rather have right now and for the next 5 years? Stephen Curry, David Lee, Jarrett Jack, and Andrew Bogut, or Kobe, Pau, Nash, and Dwight?

      • lakerluver - May 2, 2013 at 10:40 AM

        In the next five years you can have the Warriors. Nash, Pau and Kobe will all be gone by then. Let’s see how the LAKERS look in 2014. It’s going to be a whole new roster, except for maybe Dwight and Kobe. Other than Curry, the Warriors have no player the LAKERS would even want.

      • Kurt Helin - May 2, 2013 at 12:14 PM

        If you don’t think the Lakers would want Klay Thompson or David Lee you don’t know basketball. And frankly they could really have used Jarrett Jack this season and… you get the idea.

      • lakerluver - May 2, 2013 at 1:04 PM

        He was speaking of the next five years, not this year. That’s what I was replying to. Of course the LAKERS could’ve used those players this season. My point is over the next five seasons, the LAKERS will be better than the Warriors.

  4. jazzfan8 - Apr 28, 2013 at 12:16 PM

    Lets see , no income tax in Texas or Cali that will walk away with half , welcome to Houston !

    • asimonetti88 - Apr 28, 2013 at 5:21 PM

      Even with the California state income tax of 10.3% for individuals making over $1 million, he’d be averaging $21.2 million a year compared to $17.6 in Texas.

      • manchestermiracle - Apr 29, 2013 at 10:28 AM

        Hey, knock that off. Your facts are getting in the way of their fantasy.

  5. tombstone7 - Apr 28, 2013 at 12:22 PM

    Please Mr. Howard, go talk to othet teams and please take your drama and heart with you. You are not ready to wear the purple & gold like other great Lakers…..evrn Kurt Rambis had more heart than you. Good luck in Dallas….they’re dumb enough to want to pay a high price drama queen.

    • bstmusic1 - May 1, 2013 at 8:32 AM

      Heart? Dwight has heart?

  6. bucrightoff - Apr 28, 2013 at 12:28 PM

    Let Dwight go, amnesty Kobe, trade Pau, cut Nash or trade him if anyone possible wants him, tank next season, get Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker. Then you’re out of cap well, with a big two of Kobe and Wiggins or Parker. Look I just saved the Lakers from mediocrity the next ten years!

    • lakerluver - Apr 28, 2013 at 12:37 PM

      Tank and LAKERS don’t belong together, sir.

      • manchestermiracle - Apr 29, 2013 at 10:30 AM

        Ain’t it funny when people who hate the team make idiotic comments about “saving” them?

  7. bifford - Apr 28, 2013 at 12:31 PM

    Your money figures don’t consider tax codes. If he went to Houston, he wouldn’t have state tax, which over a four year deal would greatly reduce the impact of a missing fifth year.

  8. melkipershero - Apr 28, 2013 at 12:35 PM

    That 30 million difference isnt really 30 million if he sign in the state of Texas because of taxes and cost of living. Honestly I think LA would be better off moving on. Let Pau play out his final year of his contract as the starting C. The NBA today doesnt require a dominant big to win.

  9. raiderinvader - Apr 28, 2013 at 12:46 PM

    Go Warriors !!!

  10. Louis Tumblin - Apr 28, 2013 at 1:04 PM

    Cleveland is mentioned because of the cap space they have. I don’t think Howard would ever consider Cleveland. It would be nice if he did.

  11. raiderinvader - Apr 28, 2013 at 1:10 PM

    Go Warriors !!

  12. dls612 - Apr 28, 2013 at 1:18 PM

    Ya think?!!!!

  13. 13arod - Apr 28, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    would it be fuun if he went back to orlando

  14. spytdi - Apr 28, 2013 at 2:19 PM

    Please not Dallas.

  15. leoimpr - Apr 28, 2013 at 2:33 PM

    Both Lakers and Boston let their team grow old, thinking that NBA never changes. Now a days there is no love for any team, just love for money. Players will leave team looking for better contracts, regardless they can have a dynasty and win several championships. Boston thought keeping their older big 3 team was the solution and Miami came back with a younger big 3 with older complementary players, and it is working. Lakers believed that adding a lot of old farts to a team having Kobe as their centerl, with 35 + years would work, results: injuries , imjuries, and injuries. then they wanted to trade Bynum because they knew he was broken in pieces, tried to be smart asses, now Howard will leave and they would have a broken down Kobe and no one else. it will be a decade before they come back.

  16. 00maltliquor - Apr 28, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    I honestly don’t care if he stays or goes. I will be good with it either way and won’t lose any sleep over it.

  17. clevelandschronic2 - Apr 28, 2013 at 2:43 PM

    The poor lakers got themselves in this mess. I remember hearing every laker fan tell us how they were soo great,andthe title is yours. Now the same FAKER fans dont want him. LA and howard are the perfect marriage. I hope and pray he stays. You deserve this guy.

    And howard stay far away from my Cavs and kyrie!we dont need you and and your me first attitude destroying this young team or wasting our cap space on this scrub.

  18. spideysdog - Apr 28, 2013 at 3:41 PM

    Ok, let me see if I got this straight…. DH has said for two years that he is going to see free agency and test the waters. Your big report today Kurt is….. DH is going to test free agency? Now that folks, is reporting at its best…..

    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  19. kobeluver - Apr 28, 2013 at 3:45 PM

    Enjoy your last day on PBT lakerluver.
    You lost our bet that the lakers would make it past the 2nd round. Say your goodbyes tonight. As of of midnight PST, you are GONE!

    • lakerluver - May 2, 2013 at 11:06 AM

      What bet are you referring to, sir? You must have me confused with someone else, I don’t bet.

  20. sportsnut101 - Apr 28, 2013 at 3:57 PM

    Best place for him is Houston rockets. Go play with j harden

    Hope he leaves lakers.

  21. henryd3rd - Apr 28, 2013 at 5:29 PM

    Howard would be wise to look at all his options; especially since California now has a newly passed millionaires’ tax as well as the states’ income tax. It’s all about the money and I can see him exploring all possibilities.

    And then the little issue of talent. Kobe’s days are numbered, Meta World Peace will not be resigned, Paol Gasol wants out of LA and Steve Nash is not the player he once was. Did I mention that Jimmy Buss is not Jerry Buss? That dude is way over his head.

    This has the makings of a very interesting off season!

    • Kurt Helin - Apr 28, 2013 at 10:05 PM

      Agents will tell you that the tax issue in LA is more than balanced out by the additional marketing/sponsorship opportunities in the nation’s second largest media market. The tax thing is way, way down the list of what players worry about when making choices.

  22. chiveteej - Apr 28, 2013 at 5:42 PM

    So Helin and company spend all last season talking about how Howard should/will be traded from Orlando. Spends this season talking about how Howard should stay. Home cooking much?

    • manchestermiracle - Apr 29, 2013 at 10:32 AM

      If you don’t like the cooking why not find a different restaurant?

  23. halfbaht - Apr 28, 2013 at 6:18 PM

    I personally think he’ll stay a Laker. Houston and Dallas aren’t exactly going to be a contender next year. The lakers might turn their fortunes around, especially if they start feeding to their bigs more

  24. lolatraidersfans - Apr 28, 2013 at 6:47 PM

    I’m impressed Howard has played this well so late into the season. Even a small tear in the labrum is so difficult to deal with, much less doing it at an elite level of competition. I think Howard will stay with the Lakers, he will get a max deal and he loves the bright lights.

  25. bigbamboom1 - Apr 28, 2013 at 7:30 PM

    Dwight Howard is going to sign and play for a team that has a legit chance to win a championship. And have young players he can relate to and enjoy playing with. If he stays out west, that means the Golden State Warriors or Houston Rockets.

    But I think he goes back East. And I say Boston Celtics is the sleeper here. The Celtics have the tradition. They play the kind of scheme that magnify his strengths. They have a young nucleus of studs to surround him with (Rondo, Jeff Green, Avery Bradley). Wiley sharpshooting vets who will keep teams from jamming him in the middle (KG, Pierce, Jason Terry). And quality young big men, depth players like Jared Sullinger and Fab Melo who can do the high energy Rodman & Salley thing off the bench to completely disrupt teams. Howard is the one missing piece the Celtics need to go after Miami. And the Boston fans will embrace his quirkiness. Boston also has a few great pieces to throw into a sign and trade with LA. Like Courtney Lee, Fab Melo and draft choices.

    • limonadamas - Apr 29, 2013 at 12:33 AM

      “Great pieces” like Courtney Lee, Fab Melo, and draft picks? We’d be fools NOT to take that offer!!! hahaha

    • lakerluver - May 2, 2013 at 11:09 AM

      Dude, you’re simply delusional.

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