Dwight Howard Says He Still Has ‘Years to Play’ with L.A. Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers had been saying all along that they would hold on to All-Star center Dwight Howard at the trade deadline.

With no future guarantees coming from the impending free agent, analysts wondered how long the team could afford to hold on to him. An aging core (Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Pau Gasol) cast an ominous cloud over the team's ability to compete in the coming seasons.

Surely, they could not risk losing Howard over the summer and getting nothing in return.

But Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak refused to gamble on the trade market, instead staking the club's future on a center who has looked, at times, to be a poor fit with both his teammates and his coach.

However, Howard (perhaps inadvertently) hinted that Kupchak's patience will be rewarded soon.

According to Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register, Howard said he and his Laker teammates "have years to play with each other" when asked about his ability to find his role in Mike D'Antoni's offense.

If that comment didn't knock your socks off the same way that it left the basketball world scrambling to cover its ugly feet, consider this—it's Howard's first remotely definitive public statement on his future plans.


When previously prodded on free agency, Howard had always handled the inquiries like a seasoned public relations pro. He gave his current team just enough praise to pacify the fanbase, but never closed the door to potential summertime suitors.

The consensus from analysts was that Howard would re-sign with the Lakers. Outside of his obvious reasons for staying put (the Lakers can offer him one more year and $30 million more than any other team), he would have a hard time finding another city that could grant him the kind of marketing and entertainment opportunities that Tinseltown has.

But that consensus wavered with each Laker loss. He butted heads...

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