The Lakers seem to be committed to Dwight Howard. They are tabbing him as the next franchise player when Kobe Bryant retires (which could be next year).
Not surprisingly, Dwight Howard hasn’t made the same commitment. Mark Medina from the Los Angeles Daily News has the story:
Whenever he makes appearances in Los Angeles, Lakers center Dwight Howard noticed the city hasn’t entirely embraced him. He understands why.
“I understand why they’re hesitating,” Howard said. “Because I haven’t signed a deal.”
Dwight continued on.
“I’m here right now, so there’s no need for me to have one foot in and one foot out,” he said. “I’m here. I’m going to do everything I can to help this team win right now, and that’s the only thing that matters.”
Sometimes, it’s hard to tell with Howard because one game, he’ll be lackluster, and then in another, he’ll be brilliant. It’s obviously clear he’s not 100 percent. Because of his not-so-serious manner, his effort has been questioned. Nevertheless, a Howard at full strength is a game-changer and is a top five (top three, even) player in the league.
At one hand, it’s easily understandable on why Dwight hasn’t signed a deal. The new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is made as such that Howard has to wait ’til the summer to sign a five-year, $118 million deal. And the Lakers have the advantage when it comes to security; other teams can only sign him for four years and a total of nearly $88 million.
On the other hand, we’ve seen this fiasco before. The way Dwight Howard dealt with the Orlando Magic did not look good as he was wishy-washy about staying and going. It seemed like he held the franchise hostage for a year (dubbed the “Dwightmare”) and the same thing could happen here, too. That’s why trading him was rumored to be an option, although the Lakers have since said that they were holding on to Dwight.
Still, it’s going to be an intriguing summer for Dwight Howard. And him not signing a deal (among other things) is why the Lakers fans haven’t exactly embraced him.
Dwight Howard and the Lakers will face the Clippers on Thursday night.