In Lakers Nation’s latest edition of our roundtable, we thought it would be only suiting to tackle the subject that every Laker fan is talking about, which of course surrounds the future of Dwight Howard. While we can only wait for free agency to officially kickoff, which is on July 1, the rumor mill regarding Dwight’s future is only just starting to heat up.
So, where do some of Lakers Nation writers think Dwight Howard will sign this off-season? Let’s find out.
Ross Gasmer (@Ross_Gasmer 12): I’ve been a Dwight Howard apologist for most of the season, and I won’t stop now that he might be on the verge of leaving the Lakers. It’s hard for me to envision a scenario where Howard leaves the Lakers after pulling such a PR nightmare in his departure from Orlando.
Howard loves to be the center of attention and LA gives him the best opportunity since Kobe Bryant will be retiring in coming years and it’ll become his show. The Lakers give him the best chance to win, and it’s clear that they’re poised to cater to his needs.
However, Houston is an attractive destination since they have an up-and-coming core, but ultimately, Howard wants to be liked and playing on three teams so early in his career won’t help him there.
The best scenario would be if he would tell Lakers management that he won’t play for Mike D’Antoni, something that has been rumored, and he’ll be able to play for a coach that will utilize his talents.
Not many people realize the severity of his back injury, and I think Howard will come back next season in better shape and highly motivated.
Ryan Ward (@Lakers_Examiner): It’s decision time for Dwight Howard. The superstar center will be forced to do the one thing that he clearly hates to do; make a decision.
Howard has been reluctant to let his intentions be known in terms of his longterm future, but now is the time, and that decision will be to sign with the Houston Rockets.
Although Howard has seemingly fallen in love with the city of Los Angeles, the same can’t be said about the pressure that comes along with playing underneath the banners at the Staples Center. The pressure to win and win now has proven to be too much for Howard and as a result will take the easy way out by heading to the pressure-less Rockets to play alongside James Harden and Jeremy Lin.
The three-time Defensive Player of the Year stands to make $30 million more and will have an extra season of job security in Los Angeles, but that’s pale in comparison to Houston’s offer.
The Rockets will be offering a chance to build up a franchise with young talent with little expectation. Any success outside of the first round of the NBA playoffs will be considered a step in the right direction instead of a resounding disappointment with the Lakers.
Elizabeth Benson (@gobibs): It is the question all Lakers fans are waiting for; where will Dwight Howard sign? To be honest, I can see it going two ways right now. Either Dwight will embrace the Lakers and the expectations that come along with putting on a Laker uniform everyday, or he will go with the Houston Rockets and their lessened expectations and media attention than Los Angeles.
I think what is should all come down to, in my opinion, is who holds a better future for Dwight. Taking my fandom away from this analysis, I view the Lakers as a more lucrative future for Dwight, and I’m talking about more than money.
The Lakers have built their franchise around consistently remaining competitive. The team’s goal every season is to win a title; anything less is viewed as a failure. To put it simply, they are after the ring year in and year out. Isn’t that what is said in Dwight’s Twitter bio?
Despite rumors, there was a very apparent improvement of team chemistry with his teammates, in particular with Kobe Bryant. While I cannot give you an answer on Mike D’Antoni’s immediate future with the Lakers, I can tell you that Dwight’s future with the Lakers would surpasses D’Antoni’s regardless of what management decides to do.
Dwight needs to remember what made him smile so big on the day he was introduced by Mitch Kupchak as a Laker. The fans will embrace him, as soon as he fully and completely embraces being a Laker.