Until he puts pen to paper, the 6'11" center is going to be thinking about free agency. He hasn't exactly made a commitment to the franchise, so there's still a chance that he and his agent could opt for free agency next summer.
If there's anything to be learned from the past 12 months, it's that Howard isn't the greatest decision-maker. Whether he's indecisive on his own or his agent is pulling the puppet strings in multiple directions, the fact is that the 260-pound big man is unpredictable.
Since free agency is going to be on his mind, that means that Howard's approach to the season is going to be a bit affected. He's going to want career numbers in case he does decide to become a free agent.
That's going to require Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol to scale back on their production.
Nash might be willing to scale back, since a championship is the most important thing to him right now.
Bryant is one of the most competitive guys to have ever picked up a basketball, so it's hard to see him being willing to take a backseat to anyone.
Gasol knows that the fans have turned on him before and made him a scapegoat, so he's going to want to ensure that his numbers still remain above average.
Andrew Bynum, who is viewed as the second-best center in the NBA behind Howard, was in a similar situation last season. He had free agency to look forward to, and he struggled with being the second (and sometimes third) option on the Lakers.
The same thing could happen with Howard. If it does, then winning a championship becomes that much harder.
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