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What Dwight Howard wants from free agency
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On June 30, 2013 @ 12:32 pm In Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports
The billboards were a nice touch, those purple and gold pleas all over Los Angeles aimed at convincing Dwight Howard to stay with the Lakers.
The photo-shopped pictures of Howard’s image on some of the most iconic spots in town were creative, as is the full-page ad that the Lakers plan on running in the Los Angeles Times. The words of support from his Lakers bosses have been on point, too, with general manager Mitch Kupchak deeming the free-agent-to-be big man the Lakers’ future yet again with the hopes that the message will make a difference.
But if Howard handles his free agency this week like those close to him claim he will, the irony that will likely leave the Lakers losing out here is about to be revealed: It’s not nearly as much about the business anymore for the big man who so badly wanted to be in a big market, but about the basketball.
It took coming to Los Angeles for him to see why the premise that had so much to do with him leaving Orlando was so flawed. He realized that winning trumps market size when it comes to the factors that control the way a player is perceived and treated. Add in the always-overbearing presence of Kobe Bryant, and Howard learned the hard way that Laker Land wasn’t all he had hoped it would be.
He came back too soon from a back surgery that could have forced him to miss the entire season. He then put up some of the best numbers of anyone during the second half of the season only to be virtually ignored when the individual accolades were being decided. The three-time Defensive Player of the Year finished 14th in this year’s voting and was third-team All-NBA. The Lakers didn’t win enough, had far too much dysfunction and negativity, and so he paid the price along with anyone not named Kobe (first-team All-NBA).
But Howard’s confidantes say this will be different, that he’ll study the respective merits of Houston, the Lakers, Dallas, Atlanta and Golden State based on how he can win
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