From Dave McMenamin, ESPN LA: The Los Angeles Lakers do not yet know Dwight Howard’s decision for next season, but the All-Star center made his feelings about Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni known before starting his offseason. Nearly three weeks have passed since Howard had his exit interview with the Lakers and there’s been barely a peep out of Howard since. While he hasn’t had anything to say to the press, Howard had a lot to say to Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak back before the relative silence, however. Howard was one of several Lakers — Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol being the most noteworthy — to have an extended separate meeting with the GM after his exit interview with both Kupchak and D’Antoni, multiple sources confirmed to ESPNLosAngeles.com.
From Mark Heisler, Lakers Nation: Another one of those summers looms in Lakerdom.Rather than take the extra $30 million and jumping into the Lakers’ arms as a Hall of Fame wing of great centers had, Dwight Howard will check out other teams. It’s all preliminary. With Howard under contract through July 1, everything–visits, welcoming pageants, talks—is in the planning stage. In other words, this is the off-season’s preseason. Laker fans with enough brain cells left may remember that their last preseason didn’t go so well, what with all the injuries and the 0-8 record. Nor does the off-season’s preseason look like it will be much fun with Howard intent on touring the NBA. The likeliest outcome is still that he stays, after drawing it out as long as possible, raising hopes in as many cities as he can, and ultimately disappointing the maximum number of teams and fans possible.
From Drew Garrison, Silver Screen & Roll: Good for Dwight Howard. Dave McMenamin of ESPN has reported that Howard expressed “frustration” with Mike D’Antoni during his exit interview and all I can say is good for Dwight. That’s what an exit interview is for, right? To express what you think about the team’s direction, what you would like to see changed, and the future. Howard is in line to be the leader of the Los Angeles Lakers — should he accept that mission — and the front office should, without pause, “pop” the question to him.”Will you marry this coach for the next two seasons?” The problem for the Lakers front office is clear. Through a season filled with injuries and a “mid-season early-season” swap of Mikes, the story is the Lakers played well after the All-Star break. They got back on track and looked better than they did to open the season, which wasn’t a huge bar to clear. Howard’s health improved dramatically. They finally had both Steves. Pau Gasol eventually crept back into the lineup and helped cap off their strong finish. Things were in working shape
From Kurt Helin, Pro Basketball Talk: Kobe Bryant thinks this Lakers roster can work. Well, he at least thinks his chance at a much-coveted sixth ring is more likely if the Lakers bring back two of the top big men in the game, as opposed to having just one and restructuring the lineup to be closer to what Mike D’Antoni prefers. So Kobe took to twitter to say what he thinks the Lakers should do as they consider the future ofDwight Howard (a free agent, the Lakers will offer him a five-year max deal) and Pau Gasol.
From Ramona Shelburne, ESPN: The clip runs frequently on Time Warner Cable SportsNet, the Lakers channel in Los Angeles — the day after the Lakers pulled off the megatrade that brought Dwight Howard to Los Angeles, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak walks Howard through the team’s training facility and points at all the retired jerseys on the wall. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, Magic Johnson … the list goes on. In the foreground, you see some of the Lakers’ 16 championship trophies. Howard grins from ear to ear. Kupchak senses his excitement and turns to deliver a rather perfect line, ”That could be your jersey up on that wall in about 10 years.” The message is clear: All this can be yours.