(Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Lakers will have to wait on Dwight Howard
to truly formulate an offseason plan.
The prize free agent is reportedly testing the waters with interest by, most
notably, the Houston Rockets.
The Lakers can offer the most money and the longest deal, but does Howard
really want to return to what was not a positive experience this past year? The
Lakers struggled all season and he butted heads with superstar Kobe Bryant.
If Howard comes back, he will be the future of the franchise. Bryant will be
35 next season and coming off of Achilles tendon surgery. Steve Nash is even
older and Pau Gasol also underwent surgery this offseason.
Most of Los Angeles' young talent is green and will need a lot of work. And,
most of those players - Earl Clark, Darius Morris, Andrew Goudelock and Robert
Sacre - are free agents in some form. Decisions will have to be made whether
to bring them back.
If Howard is not back in L.A., the Lakers will have to formulate some other
plan. None is obvious and the Lakers won't have much money, or any high draft
picks to improve.
The Lakers could ink Howard and move him in a sign-and-trade. There have
been whispers that the fellow Staples Center tenants, the Clippers, will offer
Blake Griffin and Eric Bledsoe in exchange for Howard. That's a pretty hefty
The Lakers don't have a first-round pick. Their only scheduled selection is
Yes, everything hinges on Howard, but this group had him all season and
underachieved. Improvement, somehow, someway, is needed badly.
Players Under Contract: G: Kobe Bryant; F: Pau Gasol; F: Metta World Peace
(early termination option); G: Steve Nash; G: Steve Blake; G: Chris Duhon; G:
Jodie Meeks (team option); F: Jordan Hill
Free Agents: C: Dwight Howard; C: Earl Clark; F: Antawn Jamison; F: Devin
Ebanks (restricted); G: Darius Morris (restricted); G: Andrew Goudelock
(restricted); C: Robert Sacre (restricted)
Recent Draft History:
2012: Robert Sacre (60)
2011: Darius Morris (41), Andrew Goudelock (46), Ater Mojak (58)
2010: Devin Ebanks (43), Derrick Caracter (58)
2009: Toney Douglas (29), Patrick Beverley (42), Chinemelu Elonu (59)
2008: Joe Crawford (58)
Draft picks: 2nd round (48th overall)
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