Lakers News: How Kobe Bryant’s Return Date Shapes Dwight Howard’s Decision

During a recent interview with John Ireland and Mike Trudell of ESPN LA 710, Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant stated that he's aiming for a return date between November and December. This comes after Bryant tore his Achilles' tendon in April, which thus projects to be an eight-month recovery.

The question is: How will Bryant's potential return date shape Dwight Howard's decision?

As of July 1, Howard will become an unrestricted free agent and thus be able to join any team that he may choose. While some have speculated that he will, in fact, return to the Lakers, there are no guarantees to be made when it comes to free agency.

Even when it comes to a player choosing the illustrious Lakers over an alternate franchise.

With that being said, Kobe's announced return date could have a more significant impact on D-12's decision than one might believe. While the two may appear to be apples and oranges on the surface, there is a direct correlation.

It all starts with becoming "the man."


Becoming D-12's Team

If Kobe Bryant is to be sidelined until November or December, that leaves the Los Angeles Lakers without their star for training camp and the preseason. In that time, L.A. will likely run their practices in a different manner than they would with Kobe available.

How much better of an opportunity could Dwight Howard receive to prove to his teammates that he can be their franchise player?

Even if Bryant were to return for opening day, Howard would have earned the trust of his teammates on the offensive end of the floor. In turn, the Lakers would be more inclined to run their offense through him and allow Bryant to re-enter as the perimeter force.

Keep in mind, Kobe and Shaquille O'Neal won three titles by running their offense in such a manner.

This is not the same guarantee that another franchise could give Ho...

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