The biggest question facing the Los Angeles Lakers this offseason is whether or not Dwight Howard re-signs with them or elects to sign with another team. That was the risk the Lakers knew they were taking when they traded for the three-time Defensive Player of the Year last July.
As Dwight Howard will take some time to decide on his future, the Lakers are hoping that Los Angeles is his choice for the long-haul. According to SportsBook.com, the odds of Dwight choosing the Lakers are in their favor (shown below). Right now, the Lakers are leading with 4/7 odds (over 63 percent probability) to do just that.
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What team will Dwight Howard play game 1 of the 2013-2014 Regular Season for?
Los Angeles Lakers 4/7
Houston Rockets 11/4
Dallas Mavericks 3/1
Atlanta Hawks 6/1
Any Other Team 17/2
Probably the biggest advantage the Lakers have among all other teams that want to be a part of the Dwight sweepstakes is the contract they can offer him. If he were to sign a max contract with the Lakers, he could make $118 million on a five-year contract as opposed to a max contract of $88 million on a four-year deal with another team. Thirty million and an extra contract year are two difficult things for a player to say no to.
Additionally, the Lakers have the history and tradition, the Los Angeles area appeal which Dwight already loves, the opportunity to be the franchise player (soon) and a guy named Kobe Bryant. The next best competition for Dwight is the Rockets. While Houston may not have the attraction that the L.A. market has, the Rockets have the ability to offer the max (four-year, $88 million) and has a young, talented roster led by James Harden.
The other big question facing Lakers management this summer is what to do with Pau Gasol. While Gasol has certainly showcased why he is arguably the best skilled big man in the league this season, the financial situation (new luxury tax penalties) of keeping the current roster is hard to ignore. The Lakers could bite the financial bullet and keep Pau, or they could put some relief on the checkbooks by parting ways with the Spaniard (via amnesty or trade).
Odds currently favor the Lakers (shown below) to be the team in which Pau plays next season for. Pau has stated his desire to stay with the Lakers to fight for another championship run, but he is also prepared for the team to part ways with him as he understands the business end of basketball.
What team will Pau Gasol play game 1 of the 2013-2014 Regular Season for?
Los Angeles Lakers -140 (4/7)
Any Other Team EVEN (1/1)
Kobe Bryant also made it clear during his exit interview earlier this week that he feels that Pau gives the team the best chance of winning another championship. Repeatedly, Kobe stated his desire to keep the core of the Lakers together, by re-signing Dwight and keeping Pau, and give them one more crack at it.
Lakers fans are anticipating a busy offseason for the team as major roster changes are a likelihood. Whatever happens, the Lakers and their fans want a team that gives them the best chance of raising another banner in the rafters at Staples Center.
In case you missed it, check out Dwight Howard talk about his future in his exit interview.
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