Why Lakers Publicly Pleading for Dwight Howard to Stay is Shrewd Move for LA

If you've been listening at all to the Los Angeles Lakers' public pleas for free-agent center Dwight Howard's return, you're not the only one to pick up on a hint of desperation.

The Lakers aren't saving any of their cards for the negotiating table. They're not even waiting for a table to negotiate from, rather orchestrating their sales pitches in full view of the public.

It's getting harder for Howard to go anywhere in L.A. without being reminded of just how badly this city wants to keep its adopted son. If he's strolling Hollywood Boulevard, a quick glance at the sky is all that's needed:

If you’re walking Hollywood Blvd. looking down at the stars, don’t miss the one above you. #STAYD12 pic.twitter.com/iI5DIWSb1R

— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) June 26, 2013 If he drives down Figueroa Street and looks over at his former place of employment, he'll see another attempt to make it his permanent home, or at least his workplace for the next five years:

Anyone driven down Figueroa by @STAPLESCenter today? #STAYD12 pic.twitter.com/pC0aZbg28d

— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) June 26, 2013 Seems a bit much for a player handed a death sentence by the court of public opinion after a disastrous debut season that he himself dubbed a "nightmare," no?

Well, no, actually. Not in the least. Hindsight says that the Lakers gave up next to nothing to acquire the All-Star big man, even when scaled down to a one-year rental grading system.

If Howard's season was indeed a nightmare, then what are we supposed to call former Laker Andrew Bynum's first "season" with the Philadelphia 76ers? A franchise-killing acquisition plagued by a degenerative knee condition presumably made worse by a bowling trip gone horribly wrong?

Seems a bit wordy to me, so why not simply a disaster of epic proportions?

But enough about what Bynum is or isn't less th...

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