When Dwight Howard was dealt to the Lakers last month, fans and media alike began to speculate about whether or not the All-Star center would be staying in Los Angeles long-term. That subject has been discussed less frequently lately, taking a backseat to speculation about the Lakers' 2012/13 chances on the court, and it seems that's the way Howard prefers it. As D12 tells Joe McDonnell of FOX Sports West, while he's open to a "long career" in L.A., he intends to put contract talks off until after the season.
"I think the best thing to do is talk about it at the end of the year," Howard said. "We just went through that last season, basically, and I don't want to go through it again or see anyone have to go through it…. This is going to be my decision, and I'm going to wait till the end of the year."
Howard will be an unrestricted free agent next summer, which means rival suitors, such as the Mavericks, will get a chance to make a run at the 26-year-old. But as I outlined in this piece, the Lakers will be able to offer significantly more money than other teams, and significantly more money than they could offer on an in-season extension. That doesn't guarantee that Howard will simply re-up with the Lakers, but all signs, including Howard's own hints, point to that being the likeliest scenario.
"I'm happy to be in L.A," Howard said. "This is a great place. I love the coaching staff and I love the organization for everything they've done for me since I got traded here. Hopefully I'll have a long career here in L.A."