Dwight Howard faced his old team for the first time since being traded by the Orlando Magic on Sunday night with an end result that wasn’t what was expected. Howard put up typical numbers in the ninth loss of the year for the Los Angeles Lakers with 21 points and 15 rebounds, but struggled from the free-throw line missing 12 out of 21 shots from the charity stripe against the Magic.
The Lakers ultimately lost to the Magic in Los Angeles and have received a fair amount of criticism for losing to one of the worst teams in the league at Staples Center.
With the “Dwightmare” becoming a topic of discussion for Dwight once again, things got awkward in the Lakers locker room with an Orlando reporter asking questions that the superstar center had no intention of answering. Howard was clearly frustrated with these questions and talk of staying in L.A. past this season began to circulate yet again.
Howard spoke with John Denton of NBA.com about his future and he didn’t rule out the possibility of leaving Los Angeles after this season to pursue a championship elsewhere:
“So I want to do it the best that I can and I’m going to take everything in I can to get what I can out of the NBA. Which, for me, is winning a championship,’’ he added. “So if I have to play on another team or do whatever I have to do to get one, that’s my goal. This is my passion, so I’ll continue to fight.”
After an 8-9 start to the season, Howard considering signing with another team in the off-season or exploring the possibility of not re-signing with the Lakers makes sense. The team hasn’t been able to play well consistently right out of the gate despite all the talent surrounding him, but there’s still plenty of time to turn things around.
Obviously, the Lakers’ front office is concerned about the way the season is starting to shape up. The team is failing to live up to expectations and might not be able to retain Howard in the off-season if this continues once Steve Nash returns from injury.
Howard will make much more in terms of long-term salary by re-signing with Los Angeles next summer, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll take the money over a better situation elsewhere in terms of winning a championship.
There’s no question this current roster is as talented as any in the NBA today, but if the team can’t get it together on the floor in the near future, Howard may seriously consider playing somewhere else for less.