Despite numerous reports of Dwight Howard supposedly leaning towards signing with the Houston Rockets, the Lakers general manager maintains confident that the big man will be in a Lakers uniform next season.
Kupchak sat down with Lakers.com and said he feels the same way he felt at the end of the Lakers’ exit interviews:
No different from what I said at the end of the season. We have a dialogue, and we do talk, but we’re not allowed to negotiate until July 1. We talk about when he’s getting in the gym and what he’s doing, how his back is feeling and things like that. From the conclusion of the season to July 1 is two months, so it’s important to work on your body and your game in that time.
It has to be comforting to Laker fans that Kupchak has maintained a dialogue with the mercurial center. Howard is clearly the Lakers’ number one priority this offseason, and whether or not he returns to Los Angeles will shape every other move the Lakers make this summer.
The fact is the Lakers are stuck in waiting until Howard makes his decision, but Kupchak and the rest of the Lakers front office will be ready to go regardless of what happens with Howard:
That is the major moving piece. That will determine a lot about what we do. It’s the one decision we will have to wait on. Then we will try to have a plan a, plan b, plan c depending on what happens. It moves quickly, so it’s not like you can go to a plan b with certainty. There will be 29 other teams looking to improve their teams on July 1. But all of the “what if” scenarios will be talked about, reviewed and ready to go.
If there is one thing Laker fans can count on, it is that Mitch Kupchak will make the necessary moves to keep the Lakers in contention.
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