Free agency doesn’t begin until July 1st, but Dwight Howard‘s already been linked to the Houston Rockets, Atlanta Hawks, Dallas Mavericks and Golden State Warriors. However, Mitch Kupchak still feels confident about re-signing the All-Star center.
In an interview with Mike Trudell, Kupchak said that he has “a dialogue” with Howard and he still feels Dwight will re-sign with the Los Angeles Lakers this summer:
[pullquote]MT: You were “hopeful” and “optimistic” during exit interviews on April 30 about Dwight Howard returning in part because of the unique opportunity of playing for the Lakers and everything that encompasses especially for a franchise-type player. What’s your feeling more than a month later?
Kupchak: 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.[/pullquote]
You’d of course expect Kupchak to say that he’s still confident about re-signing Howard even if he now didn’t expect Dwight to re-sign with the team.
The good news, though, is that Howard and Kupchak are talking and staying in touch. Hopefully, Howard and Kupchak have built a pretty good relationship over the past 10 months of so, and that could possibly help with the Lakers’ pitch to Dwight this off-season.