What a difference a year makes. Just 12 months ago, Lakers fans wanted nothing more than to get center Dwight Howard, the perennial “Defensive Player of the Year.” And despite coming off back surgery… he still led the league in rebounding.
But Howard has taken much of the blame for the Lakers disappointing season. And he apparently did not enjoy himself. So much so, that Dwight reportedly told General Manager Mitch Kupchak that he felt “marginalized” by coach Mike D’Antoni and was frustrated with constantly taking a back seat to Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash.
Howard may not be the one man team a Kobe Bryant or Magic Johnson have been, but he is still a superstar you can build a team around. But he might not be around after this summer. He can officially become a free agent July 1st and he shows every intention of listening to other offers.
True, no other team can pay him as much as the Lakers; but lurking in Dallas is billionaire Mavericks owner Mark Cuban who has been dumping salaries for two seasons to be under the salary cap — and go shopping for free agents. And Texas has no state income tax, which makes a potential Dwight Howard contract go further.
Oh. Did I mention that Cuban has cast his hungry eyes at another potential L.A. free agent — Chris Paul of the Clippers? The odds are against the Mavs landing either one much less both. But it is possible. The nervous time for L.A. NBA fans didn’t end with the Lakers and Clippers being eliminated from the playoffs.