Dwight Howard recently had an interview with ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith and after several attempts by Smith to try to get a commitment from Howard about wanting to stay with the Los Angeles Lakers, he still did not commit to where he will be playing next year.
Howard missed tonight’s game against the New Jersey Nets, his third in a row, and told Smith that he was about 75 percent healthy and that he was still recovering from his back surgery. He added that he still felt a tingling sensation in his legs. Regarding his time out of the lineup, he stated that he was in “no rush” to return because he does not “want to reinjure it.”
So when will the Lakers get him back in the lineup for the playoff push? What does this all mean for Laker Nation? It means that since Howard will never be 100% healthy at any point this season, he may very well be ready to drag his injuries (back and shoulder) out in order to get healthy for his free agency, which starts July 1.
It is clear that Howard has no allegiance to the Lakers. He does not get along with Kobe Bryant and he does not fit into head coach Mike D’Antoni’s offensive system. In addition, why would Howard want to play if the Lakers do make the playoffs?
It will only mean more games for Howard to reinjure himself and expose his poor free throw shooting in close game situations. Both scenarios could cost him millions in free agency.
Although Mitch Kupchak, Lakers General Manager, stated that they will not trade Howard, he better reconsider or he will be left with nothing in return for Howard.
Howard has proven from his previous departure from the Orlando Magic that he will whine and complain until he gets his way. Well, maybe Howard has changed in that regard. He is not whining or complaining, but he is trying to use this injury to his advantage because it is the only leverage he has to get what he wants.
He wants to sit out the remainder of the season and then collect a huge payday. Maybe it is a farfetched theory. The Lakers better hope so.
Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo