Josh Smith’s Quote Hints at Dwight Howard’s Intentions, Future with LA Lakers

If Los Angeles Lakers fans were encouraged by Dwight Howard's recent comments about having "years to play" with his L.A. teammates (first reported by Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register), then they have to be thrilled with the comments coming from Howard's close friend and former AAU running mate, Josh Smith.

The Atlanta Hawks star was in town for the two teams' March 3 showdown at Staples Center and reiterated the most common sentiment shared by analysts all along—Howard's not going anywhere this summer.

“I can’t pick his brain and be in his head but to me, I don’t see him going anywhere,” Smith said (according to Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News). “It would be a shock to me.”

The Lakers star, and three-time Defensive Player of the Year, will become an unrestricted free agent at season's end. Smith said that Howard's loyalty, which had come under great scrutiny following his unceremonious departure from the Orlando Magic less than 12 months ago, is the driving force behind his belief that the free agent will re-sign over the summer.

"Dwight is a loyal athlete and loyal person. He’s not a quitter and doesn’t run from situations. That’s why I believe with this franchise and the way he’s talked so well about it, I can’t see him going anywhere," Smith added.

Of course, there's more than just history and a sense of gratitude working in the Lakers' favor. After all, they can offer the big man one more year and over $30 million more than any of Howard's other suitors.

Which is a big plus considering his first year with the Purple and Gold has been nothing short of a disaster. Injuries to several of the Lakers' key cogs (including Howard, Steve Nash and Pau Gasol) and an in-season coaching change have kept the team from developing an identity, forcing them into a season's worth of on-the-fly adjustments that had the pr...

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