Dwight Howard’s first season with the Los Angeles Lakers has been full of ups and downs, with a ton of scrutiny being placed on the center for the latter. However, it’s not only the media that is making a big deal about Superman’s shortcomings, but also other organizations in the NBA.
According to HoopsWorld’s Alex Kennedy, at least one executive in the Association wants nothing to do with Howard—even if he’s arguably one of the best centers in the league when fully healthy.
It's crazy how far Dwight Howard has fallen. One Western Conference executive recently told me he wouldn't touch Howard with a 10-foot pole.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) March 7, 2013
Because D12 creates a constant circus around himself, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t been living up to the lofty expectations foisted upon him when he first arrived in L.A., it’s easy to see why some franchises would prefer not to explore the option of adding him via free agency this summer.
No one will soon forget the “Dwightmare” of 2011-12, in which the All-Star player couldn’t decide if he wanted to stay or leave the Orlando Magic, a saga that finally culminated in Howard being packaged to the Lakers as part of a four-team blockbuster this past offseason.
The 27-year-old made shockwaves again recently for his comments to the press, this time talking down his former Magic teammates and causing a stir among those he spurned with the comments.
While his play on the court has helped the Lakers get back in contention since the All-Star break, Howard is still a tough person to coach and rein in with the media.
What will Howard do in free agency?
Add that to his offseason back surgery that is seemingly taking away some of his trademark athleticism, and there seems to be a bigger risk in acquiring the big man now compared to a year or two ago.
With the Lakers sitting at 31-31 and seemingly on the cusp of making a playoff appearance, we’d have to consider them favorites to retain Howard’s services this summer. However, there are going to be a handful of suitors looking to poach him away from the franchise.
Remember, the Lakers were hesitant to deal Pau Gasol at the deadline because they reportedly have a strong fear Howard will defect to another organization.
D12’s actions and subpar play certainly won’t impact the fact that he’s desired, but it will likely have a potentially measurable effect on how many teams make a run at him in July.