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Warriors in mix. Lakers pitch better than expected. Dwight race wide open.

Jul 3, 2013, 3:48 PM EDT

Phoenix Suns v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

The Lakers meeting with Dwight Howard turned into the kind of clear the air honest talk about system and effort the team should have had in December, but in the end everybody felt better and on the same page.

After his Golden State meeting Dwight Howard can see himself and see himself winning in the Warriors organization. The question is just how he gets there.

The Houston Rockets remain the team to beat in the clubhouse with a squad ready to win now.

Which is to say, everything is up in the air.

Howard and his camp are in Aspen for the Fourth of July holiday, trying to decide what is best for him. What he really wants. While the Rockets should still be considered the front-runner — and their meeting with him went very well — everything is up in the air. This could still go a lot of directions.

So we all just wait.

Marc Stein of ESPN said that Golden State has moved into the conversation.

The biggest problem for Golden State isn’t the roster, it’s that they would need to do a sign-and-trade with the Lakers and the Lakers’ front office has quickly shot down any talk of that. If Howard leaves, the Lakers are not going to help him out of town and they are going to bank the cap space for a free agent push next summer.

Golden State would allegedly offer Andrew Bogut and his expiring $14 million contract (needed for the balance) and the Lakers choice of Harrison Barnes or Klay Thompson in the deal. But the Lakers do not seem tempted in the least. And in this situation, the Lakers have the leverage so they would want more if they changed their minds on a deal.

But they are not likely to change their minds because they think they have a chance to keep him.

You would think after the Lakers had a year to show Howard how things could be it wouldn’t come down to a couple hour meeting, but it did. And multiple reports and sources say that meeting went well — the Lakers talked offensive philosophy, how Mike D’Antoni wants to use Howard, Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash sharing the ball, Howard’s effort during the season and a whole bunch of the things that should have been cleared up during the season but were not.

Every report out of that meeting has said the Lakers gave themselves a real chance to keep Howard because if they can convince him they can win he knows he can get the extra year and $30 million, plus all the off-the-court possibilities.

Still, smart money is on Houston. Dallas is in the mix with cap space and Mark Cuban’s pitch.

Basically, it’s not an easy decision for Dwight Howard to make. And those kinds of outcomes are very hard to predict.

  1. soflasfinest - Jul 3, 2013 at 8:22 PM

    Just sign somewhere you big diva! Im sick of this ish!!

  2. baymac408 - Jul 3, 2013 at 8:32 PM

    As a warrior fan! I would hate that trade!! Stay in Smell A with the rest of the Hollywood actors Dwight! We WARRIOR FANS want REAL players not an Actor! Bogut( when healthy) Barnes and Klay are all REAL PLAYERS! We need them!! DUBS UP

  3. vicvega422 - Jul 3, 2013 at 8:46 PM

    Moses Malone could carry a team. Dwight Howard can not.

  4. bbsage - Jul 4, 2013 at 12:25 AM

    KOBE can teach someone how to be a champion??? Hmm…NOT! Prior to their 3-peat, the Lakers had a stacked team with Shaq, Van Exel, Jones, Campbell, Fox, and D-Fish. Because Kobe didn’t know his role, the Lakers squandered at least two rings then. After the 3-peat, because Kobe got tired of his role, he went rogue, refused to dump the ball down to Shaq (who was covered by Ben Wallace), and stopped playing defense. As a result, they lost to Detroit in 5 games.

    When he ran Shaq out of town, he spent the next two seasons crying like a girl and demanded a trade. It wasn’t until they got Pau, and a mature Bynum, that they won two more rings. In fact, in the Finals against Boston, Kobe almost lost them game 7 with his poor shooting and got bailed out in game 4 by Fisher, due to his poor shooting.

    Last year, when they were swept by OKC, Kobe continued jacking up shots, despite the Lakers having an advantage down low with Bynum and Gasol vs. Ibaka and Perkins.

    This year, when they announced the acquisitions of Nash and Howard, I knew they were going nowhere because Kobe’s shooting negates any potential advantage they could’ve had over other teams.

    So Kobe can’t teach anyone squat about winning.

    If the Lakers want to win in the near future, they should do the following:

    -Sign Howard
    -Either amnesty Kobe or don’t extend him
    -Use the money they don’t pay Kobe to attract a free agent (Brandon Jennings, John Wall, or Danny Granger)
    -Trade Gasol for a power forward with a mean streak (Zach Randolph or a David West-type)
    -Find a shooter who can play defense

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