Saturday , Feb , 19 , 2011 Oly Sandor

Rumor: Howard to join Bryant and Lakers in 2012?

During media availability on Friday of All-Star Weekend, Dwight Howard was asked about the possibility of becoming a member of the Lakers when he becomes a free agent in the summer of 2012. "As of right now, I’m in Orlando and that’s the only thing on my mind, is getting our team back to the Finals,” responded Howard.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: At some point during All-Star weekend in Los Angeles, Dwight Howard will surely say to close confidants: “man, I could get used to this.”

The ‘this’, of course, is the massive market of Los Angeles. And perhaps, these few days convinces Howard to opt-out of his contract in 2012, and sign with the Lakers as a free agent.

And ‘this’, of course, is a problem for Howard’s current team, the Orlando Magic. The massive five-man is their franchise face, resident superstar, and premier player.

If he leaves, the Magic’s championship aspirations go with him. Otis Smith and Stan Van Gundy will have a lottery team playing in an empty new arena.

So, how do the executive and coach of the Magic convince Howard to sign a long-term extension?

First, they find him a real co-star. Not Jason Richardson. Not Gilbert Arenas. Not Hedo Turkoglu. This trio combined can’t hold Kobe Bryant, even if The Black Mamba would be in his mid 30s by 2012.

Smith and Van Gundy must remind Howard big markets are no longer the be-all, end-all with respect to marketing. The internet means players can be global superstars in Orlando, as well as Los Angeles.

Finally, they should appeal to his loyalty. The Magic are, and will continue to be Howard’s team, while the Lakers belong to Bryant, a five-time champion.

Smith and Van Gundy would be wise to continue communicating with Howard. Or come 2012, he’ll land in Los Angeles. Except this time it won’t be for a weekend.

–Oly Sandor.

 
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