In an update from a post earlier today, the Lakers have recruited injured star Kobe Bryant to help in their desperate attempt to beg and plead with Dwight Howard to stay in Los Angeles.
Kobe is willing to help recruit Howard to stay, but believes that that the decision is up to Howard, and that although he wants his star center to return to the team next season he can not force him to do so.
“It has to be his decision. The last thing you want to do is convince a person that they want to be here,” Bryant explained in an interview with Lakers.com.
Bryant understands the value that Howard brings to the table, and also that his Lakers are in desperate need of his services next season. Rather than taking the begging approach, however he “[wants] it to be his decision. When it’s something that’s rooted inside of him, it’s something he champions. I just want to be there to assist his decision.”
Many teams are coveting his services for next season, however it is easy to forget that at least according to one veteran coach, seems to be “all about the entertainment, not the competition.” He has bounced around between three teams in the past three seasons and appears set to at least consider doing so again.
For the complete story on the Lakers desperate begging to keep Howard in Los Angeles, read the original story below:
The Los Angeles Lakers are not the team that is supposed to get down on its knees in desperation and beg for players to stay in town, yet that is exactly what they are doing to resign Dwight Howard. The begging is supposed to be left to the other teams that aren’t used to their level of success, the Cavaliers and Bucks for example. Yet Dwight Howard has the Lakers begging for him, almost like they are down on their knees in desperation, tugging on his pant legs as he walks away.
Los Angeles wants him back because he is the most dominant big man in the game today. If they are unable to convince Howard to resign soon, he will become eligible to sign with any team on July 1. It isn’t supposed to be hard for the Lakers to resign their man. They have the second most titles behind the Celtics, play in the league’s second largest media market, have an endless list of hall of fame jerseys hanging around their facility. Since 1960 they have only missed the playoffs four times. Oh, and they have the money to pay him $20 million more than any other team.
Starting with a Twitter movement, Lakers fans hope are using the hashtag #StayD12 to convince him to stay in LA. This isn’t the only efforts being undertaken as the Lakers and its fans grow desperate with their begging for Howard to stay. Two billboards have gone up in Los Angeles near the team’s stadium. They feature the word ‘STAY’ a picture of Howard.
As if this wasn’t enough, another picture has surfaced of the center’s likeness taking over an LA building. There is no word as to whether or not the picture was Photoshopped in or whether it is actually on the building. An image of the back of Howard’s Lakers jersey has covered the entire side of the Beverley Hills Hotel.
General Manager for the Lakers Mitch Kupchak has also joined in the desperate begging for Dwight Howard to stay with the team. He has told the big man that “The message is simple: We care about you and we want you to stay,” according to the USA Today. Kupchak has also said that he is optimistic that the 7 time All-Star will return to the team, despite Howard saying that he is making the decision based on his own best interest.
The Lakers are desperate to solidify their aging roster with Dwight Howard, the begging has recently gone as far as for the team to promise Coach Mike D’Antoni would be replaced if that was what the center wanted. After taking the team to the playoffs last season, his first on the job, one would think D’Antoni earned at least another year at the helm. However the Lakers aren’t the average team, and just making the playoffs isn’t good enough. He was swept in the first round, bringing back the initial concerns over his coaching style and knowledge that prevented him from being the first choice to hire last year.
Dwight Howard was supposed to become enamored with Los Angeles and all it stood for. Kupchak must have thought that would be the effect when Howard was brought in with the team last year. Showing off the team’s facilities and all of the retired jerseys around the building, he told Howard that his would one day join this prestigious circle of the NBA’s elite. This apparently is not enough to ensure the big man returns to LA.
Should the Lakers desperate begging for Howard prove fruitless, and he signs with another team instead, the Lakers will be in a world of hurt this season. With a roster that is beyond well-aged, they will struggle to make the playoffs without Howard. Kobe Bryant is coming off of a devastating Achilles injury and has no timetable for return. Steve Nash is 40 and coming off a season where he was only able to play in 50 games. The team has huge contracts to role players such as Meta World Peace ($7.7 million next year) that will make it hard to bring in young talent to aid their aging stars.
Finding itself in a new position, Los Angeles now is showing its desperation over resigning Dwight Howard, going as far as begging to ensure that the #StayD12 movement pays off.
Follow me on Twitter @CharlieGille
Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express