Lakers Rumors: Assessing Los Angeles’ Chances of Retaining Dwight Howard

Rumors have ramped up surrounding Dwight Howard since the start of the NBA's free-agency period on Monday.

Whether it's a fellow superstar having a sit-down with the 27-year-old center or an up-and-coming Pacific Division team doing everything in its power to land him, there have reportedly been a lot of developments that have taken place this week.

So, what are the Los Angeles Lakers' chances of re-signing Howard at this point?

Well, first off, you can't talk about that without talking about Kobe Bryant's words to the unrestricted free agent on Tuesday. 

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, Bryant told Howard the following during their little sit-in:

You need to learn how it's done first, and I can teach you here.

You have to learn how it's done. I know how to do it, and I've learned from the best—players who have won multiple times over and over.

Instead of trying to do things your way, just listen and learn and tweak it, so it fits you.

Make no mistake about it, these words are important pieces to the puzzle. Bryant is basically challenging Howard, refusing to accommodate the seven-time All-Star. Howard could take it one of two ways: a) accept the challenge and try again to win a title with Kobe and the Lakers or b) take his ego elsewhere.

My initial thoughts are that Bryant didn't do the Lakers (or himself) any favors. Bryant has never been one to back down to anybody, but you can't just go out and tell a multiple-time All-Star, "You need to learn how to do it first." Bryant may have a point, but that doesn't change the fact that it's unlikely to warm Howard's heart.

Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times seems to think Howard will sign with someone else.

Pincus wrote the following on Thursday:

Some of the league's most historic big men have forced their way onto the Lakers -- Howard seems to b...

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