Lakers, Mavs Up Next On Howard Tour

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From NBA.com staff reports

Dwight Howard has, as expected, been a busy man during the opening two days of free agency.

First came a rendezvous with the Houston Rockets once the free-agent season began at 12:01 a.m. ET (or 9:01 Howard time in L.A.) that included chats with the Rockets’ brass as well as a few Houston basketball legends.

Yesterday, two teams perceived to be long shots to land Howard — the Warriors and Hawks — had their say with the All-Star big man. And while all of this is going on, the team Howard last played for — the L.A. Lakers — are concocting their pitch to him (which will take place sometime today).

Unlike his date with Houston, few details have surfaced from Howard’s meeting with Golden State and Atlanta, but the Los Angeles Times’ Mike Bresnahan has some information on the get togethers:

Howard met in Los Angeles with Golden State and Atlanta, neither of which has much of a chance to get him.

The Warriors are too far over the salary cap to sign Howard as a free agent and can obtain him only via sign-and-trade, which won’t happen because a) the Lakers probably will have to take back Warriors players whose contracts extend beyond this season, denting the massive amount of salary-cap space they can spend next year and b) such a trade saps the Warriors of valuable players that would be sent to the Lakers, making Golden State less desirable in Howard’s eyes.

Just the same, one of the members of the Warriors’ contingent was Lakers legend Jerry West, now a consultant with Golden State.

Atlanta is Howard’s hometown team, but the Hawks have never been higher than fourth on his list, according to a person familiar with Howard’s thinking. Generally speaking, the Hawks have a weak fan base and little to no tradition, having never been to the NBA Finals since moving from St. Louis in 1968.

Tuesday is the much bigger day for Howard’s future. He will meet with the Dallas Mavericks and then the Lakers, completing a five-team circuit in under 48 hours in Los Angeles.

As our own Scott Howard-Cooper pointed out last night, the Warriors’ pursuit of Howard may be wrought with some roster peril for a team that made the Western Conference semifinals just a few months ago.

With Atlanta and Golden State off the calendar, the Dallas Mavericks and owner Mark Cuban are next up to bat, writes Bresnahan:

He will meet with the Dallas Mavericks and then the Lakers, completing a five-team circuit in under 48 hours in Los Angeles.

Howard’s camp has long been intrigued by the free-spending ways of Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. Howard’s agent, Dan Fegan, has a close working relationship with Cuban, who will bring Dirk Nowitzki to Los Angeles for the pitch to Howard.

The news of the day, though, is Howard meeting with the Lakers. The attendees of today’s meeting — which, according to Bresnahan, include Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, coach Mike D’Antoni, GM Mitch Kupchak, Lakers business/marketing guru Tim Harris and team executive Jim Buss — reads as a who’s who of Lakers big-wigs. Aside from those names, the Lakers’ TV outlet could be in the meeting as well, writes ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Dave McMenamin:

The Lakers are still finalizing the roster of people who will be a part of their pitch, but the delegation will also include executive vice president of player personnel Jim Buss and representatives from Time Warner Cable. The Lakers signed a record television contract in 2012 with the cable giant that could be worth $5 billion over 25 years.

The NBA does not have a problem with Lakers broadcast partner Time Warner Cable SportsNet being part of the pitch for Howard, according to a league source. If TWC was to offer further compensation, that would be a violation of league rules. However, simply being present for the sitdown is in no way a breach of league etiquette.

“They could simply be presenting ideas about how they plan to cover Howard and the Lakers in the future,” said the source. “That is allowed.”

The Lakers won’t be the only ones with a television element to their pitch. According to a source familiar with Houston’s meeting with Howard, part of the Rockets’ presentation revolved around TV opportunities for Howard with Comcast SportsNet Houston. The Rockets own more than 30 percent of the network.

The driving force of the Lakers’ talk will undoubtedly be the future they can sell Howard on, particularly a financial one. Per the NBA’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Lakers can offer Howard a longer, richer overall contract (five years, $118 million) than any other team can. Plus, as Bresnahan points out, the Lakers are in position for a shopping spree in the near future:

The Lakers finally get their time with Dwight Howard, meeting with him Tuesday and trying to persuade him to stay with the franchise for five more years.

They will sell themselves as the 16-time NBA champions — how could they not? — and they also subtly will remind him Steve Nash is the only player currently under contract after next season.

As in, there’s a massive shopping spree on the way in a year.

44 Comments

  1. Joshua Greenfarb says:

    Whatever happens, we could be looking at a 2014 like this:

    West Conf. Finals: OKC Thunder vs. Houston Rockets

    East Conf. Finals: Indiana Pacers vs. New York Knicks

  2. Joshua Greenfarb says:

    If the OKC Thunder would stop being so frugal, they would have tons of money to play the free-agent market, even if only aiming towards 90 Million payroll.

    If the Thunder could practically spend as much as they wanted to like the Lakers, they would build a dream team that would win the next 10 NBA Championships. Because they’re already going to get the #1 seed again and, if healthy, will return to the Finals. Just imagine how great they could be if they spent as much money as the Lakers. It would be the greatest NBA team ever formed in history. :-)

  3. DINKO says:

    Either way he’s going to texas , dallas or Houston im not sure , I honestly think in san Antonio he would dominate coach pop would get the most out of him like he does with all his players .

  4. mike says:

    Dwight will get his money and do a sign trade with the warriors. In exchange the warriors will send bogut, expiring contract of jefferson, and rush.

    Mark my word! Go warriors. Haha.

  5. kobe4TW says:

    Dwight should and will stay in LA. Cuz he will be the franchise player after the mamba retires.

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      Sorry, boy. IMO, Howard isn’t even the best C/PF in the league. IMO, Kevin Love is the best C in the league. Al Jefferson is probably the second best. Then there’s guys like Marc Gasol and Brook Lopez.

      Howard??? Extremely overrated. He’s getting all this hype due to reputation. Even if he’s healthy, he’s not even the best C in the NBA.

      He’s still a very good player. But … his best chance will be to leave the Lakers and join a team like the Rockets (where he can play freely) or a Championship-level team (where he could play a lesser role) like the Thunder or Knicks.

  6. James says:

    As long as Kobe is with Lakers, Howard has no chance to escape from the shadow of KOBE.

  7. Chris says:

    I think part of Kobe’s pitch is going to be that he’s planning to stick around for a couple more years at a much reduced rate after his contract expires to help with the rebuild/transition – he will help with that veteran presence. He’ll make it clear to Dwight that he will be handing over the reigns starting this season and that they’ll make another push before they go out and try to get another star to pair up with Howard in 2014 along with better role players to compliment him. He’ll remind Howard of how the team has been able to do this pretty well the past 15+ years and that no other team Dwight is considering has proven that they will be able to sustain the same level of success over time.

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      That will never happen. Kobe Bryant is a selfish, greedy ball hog. If he doesn’t get his 30 Million per year, he’ll quit. If he doesn’t get to be the #1 option (to pad his inflated stats), he’ll retire so fast your head will spin.

      But my head won’t spin because this is obviously going to happen — Bryant’s retirement. You don’t need to be psychic to be able to see what K. Bryant will do if he gets a paycut. :-)

  8. M. DALGART says:

    Re. Dwight Hoard. It’s pretty obvious, that DiAntoni’s up-tempo style doesn’t fit THE LAKERS, nor Dwight Howard’s.
    You just can’t make teams like THE LAKERS adjust to DiAntoni’s style, whenj you really don’t have the type of players.
    THE LAKERS is not a running Team, and will never be consistently, like the “Old” SUNS Team were.
    Having Time Warner present, is another way, in showing “Financial Power”, which Howard would not be too impressed by.
    It still comes down to Coaches and Teammates, who doesn’t complain about each other to the Media, and causing a “Circus
    Atmosphere” like THE LAKERS. Dwight Howard should decide what situation is best for him. He obviously should be the
    “Go To” Player, as with Orlando, which is more Natural and more effective. HOUSTON seems to be a better choice,
    due to the type of “Non-Arrogant” players that will surround him. Long Term Contract, with a Team, that’s willing to adjust
    to Howard’s Inside presence.

  9. Mac says:

    Go Home D12, changing a franchise make you look unreal. ATL!!! The call will come to you on every possession.

  10. Berdugo says:

    Dwight should go to India, read “Eat, Pray, Love”, reflect on what the sport is all about, and head back decided.

  11. RJay says:

    I think the only hindrance of dwight staying in LA is the System D’Antoni has. It just does not fit Howard.. but I think L.A. is not changing D’Antoni.. so its more Likely DH12 will leave LA.

  12. Martin says:

    Dear Howard, go to any of the other 29 teams in the nba, just that whatever you do, DON’T STAY WITH THE LAKERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. Saul says:

    My opinion about all this commotion is the fact that the only barrier stopping D12 from signing back with the Lakers is the coach. I don’t blame Howard at all because if you come to think about it, having the best Center in the league with multiple offensive and defensive characteristics, as a coach you should be thinking that Center man with the ball about 50% of the game and D12′s main role is low post game, yet in the other hand D’anoni’s system is completely opposite of Dwight’s style of play so that’s where the Titans clash. I really doubt that money is the issue. There’s a lot to deal with in this trade.

  14. ROBERTO COBOS says:

    MAVS BABY

  15. Alan Hollway says:

    Would Howard not be a great fit at San Antonio, a team who was just seconds away from winning an NBA title for the 5th time, a team who needs a back up for the soon to retire Tim Duncan, a team who could transition from the Duncan era to the Howard era? The only question is would Howard fit the Spurs “no nonsense ethos” would he get on with Pop and others? If the answer was yes, the NBA title would be the Spurs, Duncan could play on for two seasons more with less responsibility only if Howard and his ego could be managed.

  16. tylerallen86 says:

    Funny thing is even if D12 stays at Lakers
    Clippers will still be the better team!
    Ife he goes to the warriors or rockets, he would be on a better team than the lakers!
    Clippers > warriors > Rockets > lakers > mavs

    • JR818 says:

      Funny how all these teams are being talked about like there so great yea there good teams but as far as i see it theres only one team who has proven to win championships and thats the lakers the rest of these teams have 2 or less with the mavs winning the most recent so the smartest thing to do would b the lakers because they will make sureto build a championship team they have done it time and time again all these other teams just try and dont succeed and to the clippers guy above me calm down i still remember wen clippers tickets were given away free in parking lots of stores far as ive seen they aint even made it to the conference finals and thats because paul origanilu wanted to b on laker not clippers go lakers 16 nba championships

    • Chris says:

      Next year, yeah, you’re probably right. The year after could easily be a different story with all the cap space they’ll have.

  17. JAMES YAP says:

    go to the rockets…

  18. ATLienC4 says:

    Atlanta is the best fit…

  19. ATLienC4 says:

    I wish they stop acting like atlanta has no chance… the media keep throwing it out there like that.. lol the power of influence is sad… they wont him in houston bad and the media will try they hardest to discredit the other teams…come home dwight and make history

  20. natan says:

    howard to rockets!

  21. Daniel Burgos says:

    For me, Houston is his best fit. They have a young team and seems like, being around him, they could have a fast chemistry. Also Houston supplies itself with a great bench that is way better than the Lakers. And the Rockets can still add more pieces too.

  22. jackson says:

    I have nothing much to say but to praise D12 for last season’s contribution. We all have seen his effort of bringing the game back although lakers was trapped in a bad season opening. One things for sure, if he really want to stay back, i believe next season would be a better one since they have already set up the team cohesiveness in last season. Go LAKERS!

  23. GoMavs says:

    Cuban wants this one too bad. Sorry Rockets.

  24. ball don*t lie says:

    I saw on twitter someplace PJ was either attending or recommending directly for d12 to stay in la. pj is the one, in my opinion, that got the lakers to send the ball to d12 in paint and his game improved dramatically.

  25. Pacquiaoverrated says:

    i hope howard stays with the lakers, i just couldnt wait to go through another year of lakers drama just like last year, team him up with mr. ballhogging lakers gonna be fun to watch!

  26. MIGO says:

    Honestly the best fit for him right now is Houston, just because it is a right now team and is a very young team, Houston is a very good team that needs a very good center to become a great team, aside from DH12 antics of immaturity, he one if not the best center on the league right now, the Lakers will need to rebuild, their biggest issue is a weak bench, unless they can fix that now is not worth it also DH is not a runner is a half court offensive set kinda a guy so D’Antoni’s offense simply is not going to work with Howard and i bet the coach is not going to change it just because of 1 player, unless that player is Kobe LOL we all know he has that pull hahahha….anyways Dallas has to rebuild they only have Dirk, Warriors have a very good core but no cap space so they’d loose a lot of good players in the run for DH, im not even mentioning Hawks that’s an imposible one lol, DH do what you must, by the way i like the player but im not a fan, however his best chance on a championship, not saying he’ll win it next year or after but in 2 or 3 years time that’d be a fearsome team, anyways let’s enjoy the craziness of the free agency

  27. What a sitcom this is becoming at the moment, am laughing my pants off.

    After all that talking and guessing D12 will stay in LA, you will see. Too much stakeholders in this party and things behind the scene’s that we are not allowed to know. I’m sure the Laker organization is feeling a lot of pressure from Time Warner. What if they have some terms in their contract about having certain players in their roster?? Players of the caliber D12 (because Kobe will be done in 4 years).

    Any way, this is starting to look like the way Lebron left Cleveland. A lot of show and few surprises if u ask me. We all knew back then what was going to happen and this time it is going to be the same show they are selling 2 us!

    • Saul says:

      Yeah I agree with you on that. Dwight Howard will end up with the same situation that Lebron had to deal with. Which was the anger and hate from all the fans around the NBA simply because he’s making it so much of a commotion. I honestly think that his best fit is the Lakers. Compared to the Rockets, Mavericks, Hawks and GS, the Lakers are always known as championship contenders, and as Kobe is progressing in age, so is World Peace, Gasol, and Nash…in just 2 years, Dwight can be the man in L.A as he wants to become. Patience is a virtue.

      • Common Sense says:

        I don’t have tons of love for Dwight Howard, and as a LA fan I’m torn as to whether I’d rather him stay or walk. However, his situation is nothing close to Lebron’s in Cleveland. I’m not sure why or how everyone seems to forget that the hate for Lebron was never because he left Cleveland (unless you’re from Cleveland)… The hate he received, and deserved, was for the ridiculous televised “look at me, world” way he let them know he was leaving. To think he was the league’s villain simply because he changed teams is naïve.

      • 16going417 says:

        Common Sense, that you are…. I agree with you completely. I’m a huge Lakers fan and Howard can stay or go. He has some good qualities that make him worth keeping, but he has some real bad basketball habits that make him in effective and the Lakers can do without. So, stay or go it does not matter. The Lakers problems are old age, lack of speed, lack of athleticism and a coach that does not fit the make-up of that organization. No of those problems are addressed by Howard staying or going.

        Stay or go; Lakers need to blow that team up after the 2013-2014 season and start over anyway.

      • SRFS says:

        So the Lakers had easily one of the worst seasons in franchise history. What changed this season that will produce better results? The addition of Ryan Kelly and a recovering Kobe from an achilles? Not even a tough decision for Dwight…. he won’t be in a Laker uniform next season you can quote me.

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      Kobe Bryant is already done. He won’t be the same recovering from major injury. Plus, he takes summers off anyway, so don’t expect him to be in shape when the season begins.

  28. flying rajin says:

    go to dallas you be sucessful there..

  29. Johannes Salmasan Marquez says:

    go any where else Howard and leave lakers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  30. KingJames says:

    Cuban&Dirk will get him!

  31. Lakeshow says:

    staying with the lakers will be the best thing he can do since he is used to this team and had a good start it was his team the problem and now that wont be a problem oce they get younger after next seasn, go on and take those 118 million dollars

    • He hates D’antoni’s system….he wants to handle the ball instead of Kobe…why would he come back? if he goes to houston he could handle the ball all he wants because their star player Harden is not only a scorer but a playmaker

      • Chris says:

        So in Houston, Harden would handle the ball less with Howard there? I doubt that it would be all that much different between Harden and Kobe when it came down to offense. Howard would likely end up being the number 1 option in LA more than he would in Houston, especially with Kobe coming off an injury. He has a lot more to gain by staying in LA financially, and with the salary cap situation LA will be in after this upcoming season, he knows they’ll be able to build a quality team around him to win, and he knows they’ll pay the luxury taxes to do it. Seems silly that he’d leave just to start over again somewhere else that has had far less success the past 2 decades.