Before the Lakers acquired Dwight Howard from the Magic last month, reports suggested that Howard would be amenable to a long-term stay in Los Angeles. However, since the blockbuster four-team trade was consummated, nothing has materialized on that front.
Yesterday though, there was a hint from Howard himself that he may be leaning toward remaining in Los Angeles for the next few years. Howard tweeted a photo of himself and Lakers Hall-of-Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, adding: "Me and @kaj33 together. For many years to come." Abdul-Jabbar posted the same photo on his own Twitter account, writing: "Laker Nation is in great hands for years to come."
The tweets don't mean anything on their own, of course, and plenty could change between now and next July. Still, it appears that Howard is prioritizing a long-term future with the Lakers, even if he and the team won't talk about a new deal until after the season, as Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com writes.
As I noted when I examined potential contract scenarios for Howard and next summer's other big free agents (Chris Paul and Andrew Bynum), D12 could earn a guarantee worth more than $117MM by re-signing with the Lakers next summer. If he signed an in-season extension, his guarantee would cap out at about $66MM, whereas a free agent contract with another team next July could earn him up to about $87MM.