Lakers News: Buzz Around Los Angeles’ Plans for the Offseason

The Los Angeles Lakers entered the 2012-13 campaign with a new center in Dwight Howard and title aspirations.

But fresh off a first-round sweep at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs (which included Howard getting ejected in the final game), there are plenty of questions surrounding the Lakers now.

The hottest item of debate, of course, is whether Howard will be back with the team next season. The soon-to-be free agent will surely have a lot of suitors in the offseason coming off a campaign in which he averaged 17.1 points, 12.4 rebounds, 2.4 blocks and 1.1 steals while shooting 58 percent from the floor.

Howard has said his decision is based on the "right to be happy," via Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times (whatever that means). 

He also said of playing in L.A., via the Los Angeles Times report:

Some days it's good, when I have a good game.  Some days it's not so good. It's the best place to be when you win.  When you're losing it's not so good.  L.A. loves their Lakers.

Some of that you can't really understand until you experience it.

General manager Mitch Kupchak has said he's "optimistic" Howard will return to the team, but he also said it was important for Howard to make up his mind as soon as possible so the Lakers can get about business in the offseason, via the Los Angeles Times.

Kupchak also said in the report that everybody is in play to potentially be moved, including Pau Gasol. The Lakers have the choice to waive Gasol, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace and Steve Blake in July. If they did that, they would still have to pay their salaries for the upcoming season, but they wouldn't have to pay their respective luxury taxes. That's important, given the Lakers won't have much money to work with in the offseason, especially if they re-sign Howard.

Obviously, Bryant isn't going anywhere. I would also expect Gasol to ...

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