Forget personal relationships. When it comes to 7-footers with elite scoring and rebounding ability, a little friction off the court should not hurt anybody.
That may be what Kobe Bryant says to Dwight Howard during the Lakers’ presentation to the free agent big man. According to Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, the Los Angeles legend will be joining the franchise’s presentation (along with the Buss family, GM Mitch Kupchak and possibly coach Mike D’Antoni) to Howard in an attempt to persuade the seven-time All-Star to remain in the purple and gold long-term.
The meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, will be the last of five. Howard is also going to be speaking with Houston, the reported frontrunner for his services, as well as the Mavericks, Warriors and Hawks.
Howard, 27, can sign a five-year, $117 million-plus contract extension to stay with the Lakers. He has been leaning toward the Houston Rockets, league sources told Yahoo! Sports, but no one engaged in the discussions dares ruling out his staying with the Lakers.
Houston can sign Howard to a four-year, $88 million contract.
Among Howard’s comfort living in Los Angeles, his outside and marketing interests beyond basketball and the franchise’s history of rebuilding into championship contenders, the Lakers are still formidable in the process.
Bryant is rehabilitating a torn Achilles and working to try to return for the start of the 2013-14 season. The Lakers have begun an aggressive print and billboard campaign that promises to expand between now and Howard’s decision next week.
As Wojnarowski mentions in his report, the Lakers, because Howard played with them in 2012, can offer a five-year contract worth $118 million. The most any other team can put on the table is four years and $88 mil.
[H/T: Sports Illustrated]