Lakers Meet With Howard, Release Statement
While other teams met with unrestricted free agent Dwight Howard for nearly four hours, the Los Angeles Lakers’ Tuesday afternoon meeting lasted just under two. This shouldn’t automatically come as a cause for concern for Lakers fans, as the organization has been in contact with Howard and his representatives throughout their off-season, and on a fairly consistent basis over the past two weeks.
Following the meeting, it was reported that Howard is heading out of town in order to make his decision. A source close to Howard confirmed the trip had been previously planned, but was uncertain as to where the free agent big man was headed.
Very few details about the meeting have been released, but head coach Mike D’Antoni was in attendance. According to ESPN LA’s Ramona Shelburne, Steve Nash acknowledged the group’s discussion about the “disappointing 2012-13 season, and how it can be built upon.”
Following the meeting, GM Mitch Kupchak released the following statement:
“Jim Buss, Mike D’Antoni, Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Tim Harris and I, along with representatives from our partners at Time Warner Cable SportsNet and AEG, met this afternoon for approximately two hours with Dwight Howard and his representatives Dan Fegan and Happy Walters. At the meeting, we told him how important he is to the Lakers team, franchise, fans and community, and why we feel this is the best place for him to continue his career. We are hopeful that Dwight decides to remain a Laker.”
Howard’s decision goes well-beyond impacting the Lakers, solely. As there are potentially five teams (Lakers, Rockets, Hawks, Mavericks and Warriors) awaiting his selection, Howard will likely be the first major domino to fall that could set off a frenzy of free agent and trade activity around the league.
Suffice to say, Howard has received his wish of experiencing the full recruitment treatment at this point.