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Dwight Howard wraps up final free agent meeting with Lakers, now we wait

Jul 2, 2013, 7:29 PM EDT

Orlando Magic v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

The Lakers got the last word they requested with Dwight Howard, holding the final meeting with the offseason’s most coveted free agent on Tuesday.

The presentation from the Lakers lasted less than two hours, and was reported to include Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, and Mike D’Antoni, along with team general manager Mitch Kupchak, members of the Buss family which owns the team, and representatives from Time Warner Cable, as well.

Nash and D’Antoni spoke briefly with reporters before leaving the scene, and while both sounded hopeful, they also know that the decision lies completely in Dwight’s hands.

“I’d like to say I was persuasive, but it’s a tough decision for Dwight,” Nash said, via Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News. “We talked about last year and how it could be built on.”

Howard predictably didn’t want to get into the specifics or be badgered into answering questions about when his decision will be reached.

“I had a lot of great meetings,” he said, via Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com.

Howard met with five teams in total — the Rockets opened the festivities Sunday night, and were followed by the Warriors, Hawks and Mavericks before wrapping things up with the Lakers.

The Warriors would need to complete a sign-and-trade to acquire Howard under the salary cap rules, and the Lakers have previously said that’s not an option they’ll offer to Howard as part of this process.

Howard is expected to make his decision as soon as the moratorium for signing free agent contracts is lifted on July 10, but can verbally agree to either stay with the Lakers or play somewhere else anytime before then — which is what’s been happening with the high volume of trades and free agent signings we’ve seen in recent days.

As far as handicapping the odds of where Howard will ultimately choose to sign, anyone who followed his saga with the Magic a season ago knows better than to try to predict what Howard will decide. As D’Antoni said following the Lakers’ last formal chance to persuade Dwight to stay, all anyone can do is hope for the best.

“You do what you got to do,” D’Antoni said. “Dwight will make his decision. Hopefully it’s the Lakers.”

Kupchak released a statement following the meeting, via Lakers.com:

“Jim Buss, Mike D’Antoni, Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Tim Harris and I, along with representatives from our partners at Time Warner Cable SportsNet and AEG, met this afternoon for approximately two hours with Dwight Howard and his representatives Dan Fegan and Happy Walters. At the meeting, we told him how important he is to the Lakers team, franchise, fans and community, and why we feel this is the best place for him to continue his career. We are hopeful that Dwight decides to remain a Laker.”

  1. dirtydavis - Jul 2, 2013 at 7:39 PM

    D12 will remain a Laker!

    • asimonetti88 - Jul 2, 2013 at 7:52 PM

      Here’s one Lakers fan that hopes so.

      • dirtydavis - Jul 2, 2013 at 8:39 PM

        So what!!! Most Lakers fans disappeared after LBJ announce his decision.

        D12 is a franchise player… WHo doesn’t want a Franchise player?

      • asimonetti88 - Jul 2, 2013 at 10:49 PM

        Why would Lakers fans disappear after The Decision? That had nothing to do with the Lakers.

    • somekat - Jul 2, 2013 at 8:58 PM

      As a non-lakers fan, i’m not sure why you would even want him. I understand he’s a big man, and there are so few (one of the reason’s im’ excited as sixers fan, if Noel can get healthy, and they tank, they could be a force 2-3 years from now with all the cap space, but I digress), but you have to look post-Kobe. I know it’s very tempting to have one of the games best bigs as your anchor post kobe, but you also have to look at it as, what can you put around him? The Lakers lure is still there, but it’s not what it once was. Most guys that are top level just want a shot at a title, and to go play with a guy already there. From the way Howard has acted the last 2 years, how many guys do you think would be lining up to play with him?

      I’m not saying none, but I don’t see them being anyone’s first choice like they used to be. If i’m a Lakers fan, I’m to the point now where I’m probably willing to let Howard walk and hit the reset button.

  2. dirtydavis - Jul 2, 2013 at 7:42 PM

    What did Kobe say?

    • syem626 - Jul 2, 2013 at 7:49 PM

      he said”this is about us, because you’re so sprecial to me, you’re the beat to my heart, you’re the air I breathe, because you’re so special to me”

    • daddyghi - Jul 2, 2013 at 8:10 PM

      says its his team for the next 2 to 3 years…

  3. packersareandwillalwaysbebetterthanthebears - Jul 2, 2013 at 7:45 PM

    The reporter who broke the Ray Allen and Marcus Camby moves last summer, Jordan Schultz I believe, has reported that Dwight will most likely be in Dallas next year according to a “great source.”

    • packersareandwillalwaysbebetterthanthebears - Jul 2, 2013 at 7:53 PM

      https://www.twitter.com/Schultz_Report/status/351794296732663809

      Source for that report.

      • sabrinaaxel - Jul 2, 2013 at 8:15 PM

        check the new way

  4. halfbaht - Jul 2, 2013 at 7:52 PM

    Houston are the only real chance to contend, so I’m expecting dwight to head there if he doesn’t return to LA

    • michaelscarn25 - Jul 2, 2013 at 9:14 PM

      The Lakers have made the playoffs in 35 out of the last 37 seasons, so I’d say they’ll give him a good chance to contend over the remaining ten or so years of his career.

      • halfbaht - Jul 2, 2013 at 10:00 PM

        you might want to read my comment again then. i said they’re the only real chance to contend, if he doesn’t return to LA.

      • qadrir - Jul 3, 2013 at 12:26 AM

        With current roster you must be dreaming.

      • qadrir - Jul 3, 2013 at 12:29 AM

        it is funny Nash pitching to Howard “Hey dude we got a great future. I will be 40, Kobe will be 34, Meta is ageless wonder and Pau is 36 and just got his first wisdom tooth.

        What the hell is this guy smoking. Lakers are OLD washed up. Rebuild morons you are not going to accomplish anything with Dwight.

  5. norcalkingsfan - Jul 2, 2013 at 7:57 PM

    Blah blah blah. If I never see or hear from DH again I will be a happy man. Get this guy’s picture off my favorite sports website’s front page.

  6. cardinal11 - Jul 2, 2013 at 8:06 PM

    Hard to judge LA with all the injuries last year. But one thing Howard should consider is LA has a good track record adding talent.

  7. MyTeamsAllStink - Jul 2, 2013 at 8:08 PM

    The smartest thing for both Dwight and the Lakers is they part ways.The Lakers are old and are due for a rebuild.Dwight isn’t a player you build your franchise around and Houston will learn the hard way(or Dallas).

  8. kanemoney - Jul 2, 2013 at 8:09 PM

    Houston will win

    • jimeejohnson - Jul 2, 2013 at 8:48 PM

      Winner loses all.

  9. frakkervance - Jul 2, 2013 at 8:12 PM

    If Dwight wanted to stay, should’ve done what like CP3 did.

  10. apkyletexas - Jul 2, 2013 at 8:16 PM

    @Nash – “We talked about last year and how it could be built on.”

    Like what? Extending the 1st round playoff loss to 5 games?

  11. babylinc09 - Jul 2, 2013 at 8:23 PM

    Rockets got more to offer…. Not to mention a lot younger team… with tons of talent. GO ROCKETS!!!!

  12. daubs17 - Jul 2, 2013 at 8:24 PM

    why is this guy being billed like lebron was when he was a FA? does anyone really care where howard goes? he sucked with the lakers

    • asimonetti88 - Jul 2, 2013 at 11:00 PM

      35.8 MPG, 17 PPG on 57.8% FG, 12.4 RPG (1st in NBA), 2.5 BPG, 1.1 SPG, 1.4 APG

      If that sucks, then I’m curious what you consider average or mediocre.

      • brookwell2013 - Jul 3, 2013 at 7:30 AM

        That is not a bad stat line at all but it’s a fall off from his prior years. In fact it’s a decline that matches many other big men in the league over the years. The overwhelmngly odds are that D12’s line is not going get better but rather will continue to decline. So….the huge issue is do you max this guy? Someone of course will but I wouldn’t. I watched many of his games last year and the guy is simply a goof…..he was there some nights but not on other nights. Not a dominat shot blocker any more and the guy has zero offensive moves. Take a look at Simmons very detailed article that lays out the specifics of what he believes will be a continued decline in D12 production: http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/9308573/searching-dwight-howard I wouldn’t sign him and I’d start to rebuild.

      • florida727 - Jul 3, 2013 at 10:05 AM

        Good stat line citing #asimonetti, but you left off one important number…

        49%

        That’s his free throws made number. Howard is, and always will be, a late-game liability. (Think “Hack-A-Shaq”.) Any opponent would be well-advised to chop the heck out of this guy and put him to the line in any close game, especially in the playoffs.

  13. jimeejohnson - Jul 2, 2013 at 8:47 PM

    If he really likes avocado he’ll stay.

  14. losanginsight - Jul 2, 2013 at 9:03 PM

    Maybe Dwight will join Houston and make them a perennial 7-8 seed. Houston didn’t even make the playoffs after their best season in years. Their powerful 1-2 punch of the beard and Chandle is comical. That team would still be a joke.
    16x Champion LA Lakers.

  15. michaelscarn25 - Jul 2, 2013 at 9:12 PM

    If Dwight wants to be a basketball immortal, one of those guys who they show in black-and-white montages before finals games, he will stay with the Lakers. They are one of the few franchises that can provide basketball immortality.

    • sportsstar4u - Jul 3, 2013 at 7:34 AM

      Yeah because Hakeem Olajuwon isn’t a basketball immortal in Houston.

      • shanelsweet - Jul 3, 2013 at 10:12 AM

        Hakeem is a basketball immortal everywhere, not just Houston.

  16. jeff6381 - Jul 2, 2013 at 9:14 PM

    Howard will do the unlogical thing so the logical choice would be Houston and with that being said I expect him to stay in L.A. and continue to suck.

  17. whitecastleisafoodgroup - Jul 2, 2013 at 9:25 PM

    In other news, nobody gives a crap what Howard does or doesn’t do.

  18. Gordon - Jul 2, 2013 at 9:43 PM

    Rumor is that Kobe brought him a box of tampons to the meeting.

  19. andyreidisfat - Jul 2, 2013 at 10:51 PM

    Most over rated basketball player in the game today. The model of being a true loser in pro sports.

    The lbj deal a few years ago was gross and it should be an embarrassment to both the nba and James. This whole where will Dwight go stuff is 10 times worse. At least bron was the best player in the nba when he did that show. At least when he signed a true balance of power was taking place. Howard is not going to change the league no matters where he goes. My guess is he will stay in la but only after he publicly changes his mind 3-4 times. Honestly I don’t get the hub bub about the dude. This guy wants to be a number one option yet he is the same guy who scored 6 in an elimination game …. 6 points ….. did Jordan or magic, bird, or hell even James ever score 6 in an elimination game 6. I don’t think so.

    As a mixers fan and proud lake hater I hope he does sign in LA and does nothing but tear that franchise up.

    If your so great Dwight, why are you about to join your third team in two years. Great players may move in to days nba, but they hardly move twice in two seasons.

    If I am Houston I sign Jefferson and another player and know I am getting a quite hard worker who is going to give 17-10 every night and not need the coach to change his diaper and feed him a ba ba before tucking the little sport into bed with a story.

  20. luz56 - Jul 2, 2013 at 11:37 PM

    Sign and trade to Houston… Take back Asik…screw up their payroll with the prima Donna

    • florida727 - Jul 3, 2013 at 10:08 AM

      Did you bother reading the article? It clearly states that the Lakers said a sign-and-trade is NOT an option.

  21. killerbones - Jul 3, 2013 at 7:11 AM

    Kobe doesn’t want him to stay, and he doesn’t really want to stay if Kobe’s there. Last year Kobe said he’s got a year, maybe two left in him and they brought in D12 to carry the torch afterward (you can’t have the Lakers without SOME big name star in the lineup). Now a year later Kobe realizes Dwight isn’t the man Kobe wanted for the job, so knowing Dwight wants to be the top dog but can’t while Kobe’s around Kobe is saying he wants to keep playing for another 3 or 4 years, which puts it into the last year of what Dwight’s contract would be presumably. Does Dwight want to hang onto this diminishing team for 5 years, then try to go to a team after he’s 5 years older/slower? Doubt it. He wants it now, but he also needs the spotlight. Unfortunately for him, the spotlight’s only bright enough for Kobe. Prediction: D12 goes to Houston, Kobe plays 3 years…

    • killerbones - Jul 6, 2013 at 7:11 AM

      Part One complete…

  22. onlyavoice - Jul 4, 2013 at 9:05 AM

    The Rockets.
    The Lakers Jim Buss Showed His Best Hand Last Season & That’s Why Howard Is NOT a Laker.
    Kobe Does What Kobe Wants. Nash Is No Longer A Point Guard & Is USELESS Off The Ball.
    D’Antoni Has No Clue. His System Doesn’t Use a True Center.
    Nash Couldn’t Adjust To Shaq, A True Center. (Nash Publicly Stated This)
    The Lakers & The Egotistical Ball Hog Kobe Are Done.
    # More Years Of Kobe???? Enjoy The Losing.

  23. onlyavoice - Jul 4, 2013 at 9:08 AM

    LMAO,
    Laker Fans Still Think The Lakers Are Contenders.
    Playing Out Of Your Mind To The Point Of Almost Career Ending Injuries
    Just To Try & Secure The 8th Spot.

  24. onlyavoice - Jul 4, 2013 at 9:11 AM

    A Challenge To The Lakers & Or Kobe.
    Amnesty Kobe & Move Forward. The Team Will Play TEAM Ball.
    Or Kobe Just Retires.

  25. cornbreadbbqred - Jul 5, 2013 at 3:43 AM

    As a Lakers fan, I don’t see what the fuss is over this guy. Dennis Rodman was a better rebounder. Dwight is barely 6 ten, and although athletic has not demonstrated the best timing, basketball IQ, hand-eye coordination, or footwork (how about a drop-step; seriously?) He is better off discovering a willingness to learn the game more with Hakeem in residence in Houston, than in the glare of the Hollywood floodlights. I say, get at least something like David Lee and Klay Thomas, and we can find the role players otherwise, and wish D12 the best.

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