Nothing was supposed to shake up the NBA landscape more dramatically this year than Dwight Howard going to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Howard was joining Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Pau Gasol in L.A. and many had them as the NBA title favorites before even playing a game in purple and gold.
Things haven’t gone as planned for the Lakers so far this season as they are just 9-13 on the season so far. They fired head coach Mike Brown five games into the season and new head coach Mike D’Antoni has yet to right the ship.
Howard’s contract will be up after this season and he will become an unrestricted free agent next summer. The Lakers of course traded for Howard with the idea that he would be there long-term. L.A. was confident that after a season with Kobe and the Lakers making it at least to the Western Conference Finals, remaining a Laker would be a no-brainer for the big man.
But what if the Lakers don’t turn it around this year? What if they get knocked out in the first or second round of the playoffs? What if Howard can’t handle the pressure in L.A. and with Kobe in his ear every day?
Suddenly the future of where Howard is going to be playing basketball seems foggier.
Not for Howard though who came out and said yesterday that he already knows who he will be signing with next summer, according to the Los Angeles Times.
This has to be good news for the Lakers because who else could Howard already know he is going to sign with besides the Lakers?
The only other teams that really would be in play for Howard would be the Dallas Mavericks, Atlanta Hawks and maybe the Houston Rockets. There’s nothing that would point at Howard already being sure of one of those teams as a new destination for him next season.
But it really doesn’t mean anything what Howard is saying right now. A ton can change between now and then and if the Lakers don’t get their act together, Howard might decide he’s had enough.