The Atlanta Hawks were in the Staples Center on Sunday night to take on the resurgent LA Lakers. After the game, a 99-98 Lakers win that moved Los Angeles to the .500-mark, Hawks center Josh Smith was asked about the contract situation of his friend, the enigmatic Dwight Howard.
In a perhaps surprising remark, J-Smoove told reporters that he sees Howard’s future as being in Hollywood, not New Jersey or anywhere else.
“Dwight is a loyal athlete and loyal person,” Smith told the Los Angeles Daily News. “He’s not a quitter and doesn’t run from situations. That’s why I believe with this franchise and the way he’s talked so well about it, I can’t see him going anywhere.”
Smith and Howard were teammates back in the day on an AAU team and remain close friends. Like LeBron and Dwayne Wade did, the two have talked about reuniting and dominating.
However, that would only happen if Howard were to sign with Atlanta in the offseason, which is not likely due to salary cap restrictions. It is not likely, simply based on how much more money the Lakers can sign him for. Howard can sign a five-year deal worth $117.9 million in the summer with L.A., while he can only get four years and $87.6 million with another team.
That’s a big difference, and it is one of the reasons why Smith doesn’t see his buddy going anywhere.
“If it happens, it’ll be crazy,” Smith said. “But you never know.”
Smith may know Howard as a loyal guy, but Orlando fans do not. Whatever decision Howard makes in a few month’s time is bound to disappoint a huge group of people.