In a move that should surprise literally no one, Los Angeles center Dwight Howard is going to allow his current contract to expire after the Lakers season is over in order to dip his toes into free agency. The Lakers organization understood that this was a potential when they made the trade with Orlando for the big man.
This, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com:
According to several sources familiar with Howard’s thinking, Howard will likely explore free agency before reaching his final decision. In today’s media landscape, that means there will be a circus in July while Howard hears pitches from the likes of the Dallas Mavericks and Cleveland Cavaliers.
While Mark Cuban’s billions allow him to easily afford any contract it would take to bring Howard to Dallas, the fact of the matter is the most he can offer is four years and $87.6 million. The same goes for Cavs owner Dan Gilbert and really any other team that would be pitching Howard for his services. The Houston Rockets and his hometown Atlanta Hawks have also expressed serious interest in the past.
On the other hand, under the NBA’s new collective bargaining agreement, the Lakers can offer more money and years than any other team out there. Howard, as disappointing as he was in Year 1 in La La Land, is unquestionably a max contract-type of talent and one of the best low-post players in the league.
Thus, the Lakers are expected to offer a five-year, $118 million deal, which is the absolute most they can.
That is a huge difference in guaranteed money.
But will that be enough to keep Howard in his new home?