The Los Angeles Lakers have dealt with contentious rumors for the past few weeks that Dwight Howard will potentially take off for greener pastures after a rough first season in Los Angeles.
A turbulent relationship with Kobe Bryant, a chronically injured body and a media that's constantly hounding him to play through the pain, try harder and just go out and win games for this Lakers team seems to have worn on him a bit.
However, for the first time in weeks we've had some kind of hint that Howard has an inkling to stay with the Lakers past this season, thanks to a press conference held by General Manager Mitch Kupchak.
Kupchak said he has gotten calls from GMs even this morning on Dwight Howard but he will not be trading Howard.— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) February 20, 2013
Kupchak: "Dwight is our future."— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) February 20, 2013
Talking to Howard after the fact seemed to echo the sentiment.
I asked Dwight if he agreed with Mitch and saw himself as the future of the Lakers: "Yeah, I do. We talked about it plenty of times."— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) February 20, 2013
Dwight: "That's what we've always talked about since the first day I got here. It hasn't stopped. The goal hasn't changed and won't change."— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) February 20, 2013
Of course, there's every reason to call out Howard on his talks of veiled loyalty and desire to stay with Los Angeles. We did just go through this same thing a season ago when he was looking for the best way to wriggle out of Orlando.
However, there's something on the horizon for Howard to look forward to, and that's Kobe's retirement.
It's not going to be much longer before Howard becomes the man in Los Angeles, and with the final year of Kobe's contract coming next season, it's entirely possible that he's going to retire at that point.
The only thing left to do is wait and see what happens with the big man, we know it worked out in an entertaining fashion last season.