You’d be lying if you said you didn’t see this coming.
Los Angeles Lakers center/amateur comedian Dwight Howard let it all hang out with the media at NBA All Star Weekend, taking the bait on a dicey question about his impending free agency and basically letting it slip that he is not going to be a Laker next season.
Granted, he didn’t say the explicit words “I will not re-sign with L.A.,” but read between the lines on this conversation via USA Today and you tell me where his mind is at right now.
“There’s no need to talk about (free agency),” he had said during the un-fun scrum. “I want to have fun. I want to enjoy myself and not talk about free agency or what I’m going to do at the end of the season.”
And this: “I’ve got to do what makes me happy. That’s it.”
And what makes you happy?
“Having fun on the court,” Howard said. “That makes me happy.”
Are you having fun now?
“Not at the present time, no,” he said.
“I like their team,” he said when asked about the Rockets. “They’re a great team. They’re young. They play hard. They’re scrappy. They play together. Everything they do has been great. It’s fun to watch them.”
So Dwight wants to have fun and wants to be happy and is currently unhappy as a Laker. And he thinks the Rockets are a fun team. Hmm…
What options does that leave the Lakers now? With Pau Gasol injured, they still need a center. But with Dwight Howard likely not to return, and hinting publicly he wants to go to Houston, that completely kills his trade value. LA either must trade him to the Rockets for pennies on the dollar, trade him to another team looking to save some money, or just play out this season and let him walk.
Given their current financial situation (they’re over the cap next year even without Dwight) and the assets Houston could possibly give back (I love Omer Asik, but I don’t love him playing next to Pau Gasol), L.A.’s best bet is probably to trade Howard to a team looking to dump salary. The question then becomes who is going to give up quality assets for a potential rent-a-player in Dwight Howard? Anyone?
Just when you thought the Lakers’ situation couldn’t get any messier, something like this happens and makes you wonder if they’ll even make it out of the All Star break without blowing it up. All I can say is thank God Kobe has his daughter with him this weekend, otherwise he might kill somebody.