Los Angeles Lakers Reportedly Making Strong Push to Land Dwight Howard

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistJuly 17, 2012

ORLANDO, FL - FEBRUARY 06:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic smiles during the game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Amway Center on February 6, 2012 in Orlando, Florida.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

The locomotive known as Dwight Howard wants to roll out of Orlando as soon as humanly possible, but he needs a place to park his engine. With so much movement in free agency, his options appear to be very limited. 

However, according to Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports, the Los Angeles Lakers are doing everything in their power to make Howard their starting center before the start of the 2012-13 NBA season: 

Lakers pushing hard to land Magic center Dwight Howard & meeting with Magic today,sources tell Y! LAL wants DH contract extension commitment

— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 17, 2012

Not that it comes as a surprise, but the contract extension strikes me as the biggest potential hang-up to any deal the Lakers might make. 

Based on the way Howard has talked over the last year, he seems like a player who really wants to test free agency since he isn't going to go exactly where he wants right now.

He wants a bidding war, and may the best team win. 

The Lakers have every right to want a contract extension commitment from Howard. Without knowing the details of their trade offer, you have to imagine that the Lakers are going to be giving up a lot of talent and draft picks to land the best center in the NBA. If they are mortgaging that much of their future, they need a long-term commitment in return. 

The Magic don't seem to be in any rush to deal Howard. There have been plenty of rumors about him over the last few weeks, with the Magic remaining steadfast in holding out for the best possible deal. 

Howard's fate is going to change the direction of a lot of teams if and when he is eventually traded, so there has to be a lot of due diligence on everyone's part to make sure they are taken care of now and in the future.