Dwight Howard may have been spotted fishing in a pair of pants bearing the Los Angeles Lakers logo, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s about to re-sign with the club.
According to Ken Berger, Howard returning to L.A. is “far from a done deal”, while the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks are apparently intriguing destinations for the big man:
[pullquote]With the Lakers hoping for a swift decision from Dwight Howard on his free agency this summer, the All-Star center has given no indication he will rush the process and has privately indicated that he plans to give strong consideration to multiple teams, league sources told CBSSports.com.
Though Howard is adamant that his free agency not be marred by the circus-like environment that surrounded his departure from Orlando last summer, word already has spread to multiple levels of his support staff that Howard re-signing with the Lakers is far from a done deal.
With six weeks to go before Howard becomes an unrestricted free agent, the team that is said to intrigue him the most is the Houston Rockets, according to multiple people briefed on internal conversations surrounding Howard’s free-agent decision.
The Mavericks represent another franchise that intrigues Howard, and Dallas is a minor transaction or two away from having enough room to sign Howard outright as an unrestricted free agent. Howard plans to explore all such options, and a person briefed on his plans told CBSSports.com that there are “several” teams the free-agent center is “going to take a hard look at.”[/pullquote]
The Lakers hold the upper hand in negotiations from a business stand point – they can offer $30 million more in a new deal – yet the fact that Texas has no income tax would make the extra dollars the Lakers can offer less attractive after the state of California has taken their cut.
While the Mavericks seem like more of a long shot to land Howard than the Rockets due to their current collection of talent, it won’t be surprising if Howard does indeed meet with Dallas – among other teams – before making his final decision: these days, players like to meet with teams and listen to what they have to say. Franchises will do their best to “woo” a player when they meet, though this doesn’t always work. Last year, Deron Williams met with the Mavs, yet he ended up re-signing with the Nets who ultimately could offer him a five-year deal, unlike the Mavericks.
The next few months could be a nervous time for Lakers fans. However, at the end of the day, I’d be surprised if Dwight decided to leave Los Angeles.