Lakers' Dwight Howard Reportedly Knows Where He'll Sign Next Season

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistDecember 12, 2012

Dwight Howard's saga could begin all over again this offseason when he becomes a free agent, but the superstar center claims that he already knows where he will sign his next contract.

Los Angeles Times reporter T.J. Simers had the report:

Howard will be a free agent at the end of this season. I ask him if he knows now where he will be playing next year, and he says, "I know."

I suggest that means the Lakers because he could not know of any other opportunity at this time. But I still make a pitch for the Clippers, figuring he might want to play for the best team in town.

He laughs, and when I suggest that some opine if this season falls apart it will convince him to leave, he says that's not the case.

He says the Lakers are all about championships, and "what's not to like about L.A.?"

Lakers fans have to hope that this means their number will be called this offseason. Despite the team's 9-13 record, Howard has recovered from offseason surgery quite well, scoring 18.4 points per game while averaging 12.1 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per night.

The one glaring hole in Howard's game would be his free throws, though, as he's shooting just below 49 percent on the season. That has made for some interesting situations down the stretch, causing Howard to become a liability at the end of games.

Either way, the Lakers need him back. The current roster is old, and he's the team's best young player without a doubt. Losing him would make the team's move to get him before the season seem silly, even if it was worth the risk at the time.

Howard goes on to say in the report that he can coexist with Kobe Bryant because both players work hard and have the desire to win an NBA championship. That's the most important mindset to have, especially when you're dealing with an ultra-competitive player like Kobe.

Other teams are going to try to acquire Howard this offseason whether he claims to know where he's signing or not. He's too good to simply ignore, and teams will try to woo him with their best offer.

One intriguing team, as Simers mentions, would be the Clippers, especially because of their proximity to the Lakers and the rising status of their franchise.

Howard hasn't exactly built a reputation as the league's most decisive player, so it will be interesting to see if this holds up, or if he starts wavering if the Lakers struggle.

You never know with Howard. He might not even be talking about the Lakers at all, simply seeking some extra attention.

We will have to wait and see.