Everyone knows that as of this point, the Los Angeles Lakers only have Dwight Howard for one season. Even though Howard never said he will stay long-term in Los Angeles, the Lakers decided to carry on with the blockbuster trade. The Lakers gave away the promising Andrew Bynum in the deal, without any real guarantee that Howard will remain with the franchise in the long-run.
However, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak believes his newest center will fit just fine in Los Angeles. Howard did not sign an extension, but Kupchak told Sports Illustrated that he is confident that the big man will want to stay in Los Angeles after going through a full season with one of the greatest franchises in the NBA.
“Our feeling all along has been to just get him here and we’re comfortable that after being in Los Angeles for a year, hopefully winning a lot of games, contending for a championship, being exposed to our fan base — which, quite frankly, goes way beyond Southern California,” Kupchak said. “We go into New York or Charlotte or Utah or Phoenix, and there are always two or three thousand fans there wearing Lakers gear.
The Orlando Magic were nowhere close to winning an NBA championship and the city of Orlando does not offer the same glamor as Los Angeles. The Lakers are now one of the favorites to win the 2013 title and that is something which will surely intrigue Howard. The Magic had one magical run to the Finals, but ever since then, Howard has not had a chance to win the ultimate prize.
And then there is the luxurious lifestyle of Los Angeles. Southern California is a tourist hotspot and people dream of living under the sun and enjoying the surplus of attractions. Howard is now one of the biggest stars in Los Angeles and that is something that he can surely get use to. Orlando is a nice city, but it is nothing compared to Los Angeles. The Magic are a solid team, but they certainly reached their full potential with Howard.
“I just think that he’ll feel that this is a special place, that the lifestyle will suit him. It’s a big enough town where you can’t be the sole celebrity, but there are so many Lakers fans here that you don’t lose your celebrity. You can still feel special in a city this big. That’s our approach, and a year from now we’ll see where we stand.”
Howard is a character on and off the court and he always enjoys shining under the spotlight. There are always a plethora of Hollywood stars sitting court-side at Staples Center, and they’re all there to see Howard play. Not many arenas can offer such a thing and there may be times when Howard gets a little starstruck.
So even though the Lakers are still without a starting center for the 2013-14 season, the franchise is hoping it can convince Howard to stay in the City of Angels.