The Los Angeles Lakers are entering a very interesting time in their franchise’s history as not many people know what is going to happen. On the one hand, it appears Kobe Bryant wants to play more than a few more years and isn’t yet ready to hang it up and call it a career. On the other hand, the Lakers seems to be heading towards inevitable rebuilding but they’re going to fight it off for as long as they can.
One way their planning on doing that is re-signing Dwight Howard, which according to the Los Angeles Times, is Mitch Kupchak’s top priority this offseason and the Lakers GM is not using Howard’s 2013 campaign as an example of what the center is capable of.
“I don’t think he got as much credit for the season as he should have gotten,” Kupchak said, via the LA Times. “Big men are different. They can’t bring the ball up the court. They really rely on their teammates to make them look good.”
Eric Pincus from the Los Angeles Times reports that the Lakers will be able to offer Howard a five-year, $118 million contract once free agency opens where other teams can go up to just $88 million over four years. The Houston Rockets though are one of a few teams that can help offset some of the difference between their offer and the Lakers offer and it seems as though Howard would be more comfortable with a four year deal than a five year deal.
Howard would be able to lock himself into another potentially lucrative deal again in four years if he signs somewhere else and Houston seems to be able to offer him over $20 million annually, which is around what the Lakers can pay him with their maximum available offer to him.
$118 million is not chump change and $23 million annually to play in Los Angeles for the Lakers is something just about anyone in the NBA would kill for. So Howard has a pretty big decision on his hands and it appears the Lakers are going to do everything they can to make sure they’re on the right side of Hollywood Howard drama 2.o.