Dwight Howard Won't Have Lakers Fire Mike D'Antoni, No Free-Agent Favorite Named

Dan FavaleFeatured ColumnistJune 30, 2013

SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 24:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts after being fouled against the San Antonio Spurs during Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on April 24, 2013 in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Dwight Howard has made his decision, choosing not to ask the Los Angeles Lakers to fire current head coach Mike D'Antoni.

Per Ramona Shelburne and Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles, the big man won't make his return contingent upon the Lakers finding a new coach. "Howard has not asked for Mike D'Antoni to be fired and Howard will not ask for that," a source told them.

What will Howard be asking for? Championships. Lots of them.

Shelburne and McMenamin write that Superman will ultimately join the team he believes offers him the opportunity to win multiple titles. The head coach won't matter, only their ability to win.

As of right now, there is no front-runner for his services. According to Jeff Goodman of ESPN, no team has the inside track on convincing Howard to sign, though ESPN's Chris Broussard previously reported he's unlikely to return to the Lakers, mainly because of D'Antoni's system.

When free agency officially begins on July 1, Howard will sit down with the Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, Atlanta Hawks, Golden State Warriors and Lakers before coming to a decision. 

Los Angeles has been pulling out all the stops in its not-so-subtle campaign to re-sign Howard. Billboards have been plastered across Tinseltown in hopes of appealing to Howard's desire to be courted.

Sources told Shelburne and McMenamin that Howard is "flattered" by the Lakers' approach, enamored by the idea of a franchise with such a rich history fawning over him so openly.

Still, Howard isn't believed to be leaning one way or another. The verdict he renders will supposedly be about championships and those naked fingers of his. Advertisements, compliments and the spoken word will only go so far in any sales pitch. Rosters and future blueprints will have to speak for themselves.

Promising yet flexible infrastructures will catch Howard's attention first. Any team capable of contending now while also being in a position to improve substantially in the near future will have the means to effectively sway him.

"He knows that now, more than any other time, the decision has to be wholeheartedly his decision and his alone," said Shelburne and McMenamin's source about Howard.

Well, not entirely his alone. Those ringless fingers will have quite a bit of say in what he does next.