The Los Angeles Lakers were always interested in Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard and he has been their main target for quite some time. Howard is considered the best center in the NBA and the Lakers understand just how much better they would get by landing him. However, the front office has been reluctant to finalize the deal due to Howard’s decision to not sign a long-term extension with Los Angeles.
At first Howard said he would only agree to an extension with the Brooklyn Nets, but it appears as though he has changed his mind. After spending time in Los Angeles and getting a feel of the city and the Lakers, Howard has changed his stance. According to sources, Howard is now willing to stay long-term with the Lakers.
The Lakers are reportedly ready to make the trade, but first need assurance from Howard that he will commit to the team long-term. Sources say Howard is “excited” about the opportunity to play for the Lakers and will re-sign with the team when his contract expires at the end of the 2012-13 season.
This is perfect news for the Lakers as this was the biggest roadblock preventing this trade from happening. Los Angeles did not want to “rent” Howard for one season and at the same time give away their young center in Andrew Bynum. However, it seems as though their meeting with Howard went extremely well and it convinced him to commit to the franchise.
The next concern is the status of Howard’s back. He had surgery this summer and potential trading partners have been weary of pulling the trigger because of it. Still, it appears as though the Lakers were more worried about the long-term extension and if the reports are correct, Howard could be a Laker very soon.