Dwight Howard’s Return to L.A. Lakers Next Season Anything but Certain

With the Los Angeles Lakers embroiled in an all-out brawl for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, their potentially revolutionary offseason and Dwight Howard's future with the team remain in the back of everyone's mind.

It's strange that both Los Angeles' final stretch and their offseason plans have become two separately viewed entities, as there's so much in common between the two.

Should the Lakers end up missing out on the chance to face off against one of the two juggernauts atop the West, suddenly Howard's decision becomes a lot more complicated.

While the reality of the Lakers in the eighth spot in the playoffs seems like a laugh after the preseason projections had them as the new team atop the West, missing the playoffs altogether is an utter disaster.

It could be as small as a game's difference in the overall record, but that tiny difference means everything when it comes to evaluating the success of this team.

A successful squad means there's an accomplishment for Howard and the Lakers on which to hang their hats, but a failure means questions about everyone involved, by everyone involved.

Even if the Lakers do end up making the playoffs, Howard's return to Los Angeles is anything but guaranteed, as numerous teams are lining up to take a swing at him, some of which have a brighter future than Los Angeles.

Sure, Los Angeles remains the top destination for Howard. It's familiar, he now knows exactly what to expect when the Lakers don't live up to expectations, and he's in a position to make the most money in Los Angeles.

The Lakers have a long history of success, with a general manager who knows how to pull off miracle trades and create a championship team out of mediocrity.

However, it's not the honeymoon season the Lakers had hoped for in Howard's first year in Los Angeles. With the Lakers struggling, Howard has had a hard time gettin...

About the Author