The Los Angeles Lakers were dealt a blow when ESPN’s Chris Broussard reported that Dwight Howard was likely headed out of LA. Thursday night after emerging from the Lakers’ war room following the NBA draft, Kupchak addressed Dwight Howard’s free agency and the likelihood he resigns with the Lakers.
“I think the word I’ve used is ‘optimistic,’” Kupchak said, via ESPNLA.com. “I think I’m optimistic. I understand that there’s a possibility (Howard) won’t (re-sign), and I probably don’t have any more information than anybody in this room does. I’m aware of a lot of the stuff that’s flying back and forth, a lot of the rumors, so there’s a realistic possibility that he won’t be back. But I’m optimistic that he will.”
Recently the Lakers hung a banner outside the Staples Center encouraging Dwight Howard to stay with the franchise.
“It’s a sign of the future landscape,” Kupchak said. “I think in the NBA with the new collective bargaining agreement, with the intent being to level the playing field as much as possible, I think you’ll see the way teams recruit and try to procure talent to change. I think you have to be aggressive. You can’t take chances that you’re not doing enough, and from our point of view, we wanted to be as aggressive and as proactive as possible. Yet, do it with what we feel was the right way without going overboard. The message is simple: We care about you and we want you to stay. It’s that simple.”
Several teams are reportedly interested in signing Dwight Howard and early rumors suggest that he is leaning towards either Dallas or Houston.
“I don’t think anything dramatic is going to take place on June 30 at 9:01 (p.m. PT) regarding Dwight,” Kupchak said. “My understanding is, there are several other teams that have great interest and he’s going to have a process that I understand to be pretty deliberate that he’s going to go through, and we’ll be involved in that process and we’ll see how it plays out.”
Dwight Howard reportedly will announce his decision on July 10th.