Mitch Kupchak Optimistic Dwight Howard Will Remain with Los Angeles Lakers

Dwight Howard is planning on making his decision regarding a potential return to Los Angeles as early as July 10, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles.

On Thursday, ESPN's Chris Broussard reported that the free-agent center is unlikely to re-sign with the Los Angeles Lakers after just one season with the team. Howard, who struggled with his role at times last season in L.A., has an issue with the system employed by coach Mike D’Antoni, per Broussard:

Los Angeles Times beat writer Mike Bresnahan said Howard will give the Lakers a final visit after meeting with other teams:

General manager Mitch Kupchak isn’t giving up hope, according to McMenamin:

I think I'm optimistic. I understand that there's a possibility (Howard) won't (re-sign), and I probably don't have any more information than anybody in this room does. I'm aware of a lot of the stuff that's flying back and forth, a lot of the rumors, so there's a realistic possibility that he won't be back. But I'm optimistic that he will.

Can you blame Kupchak for wanting to retain the star center? Without Howard committing to the Lakers, the immediate future looks bleak for a team that was pushed out early during the first round of the 2013 playoffs—albeit without Kobe Bryant.

Los Angeles isn’t just going to roll over and watch its star center leave either.

The team posted a picture on its official Instagram account of a billboard that is constructed on the Staples Center that reads: “Stay.”

But will he stay or will he go?

Howard has been in this position before. His seemingly never-ending saga with the Orlando Magic dragged on way too long. Luckily, if this report is true, we’ll get a decision from him sooner rather than later this summer.

It’s all going to come down to what other options are out there for ...

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