Everyone has an opinion on where Dwight Howard should sign this offseason in free agency.
Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant is no exception, and he hasn't been shy about his vision for the 2013-14 Lakers. It's one that involves Bryant, Howard and Pau Gasol all returning for another chance to bring another championship banner to the crowded Staples Center rafters.
With title thoughts helping him through a lengthy rehab process from the torn Achilles he suffered in the final week of the regular season, Bryant's not going to let his sales pitch go to waste. Rather, he plans on showing the hoops world that he can be just as strong of a closer off the court as he is on it.
Via ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin, Bryant said he's far more concerned about getting in the last sales pitch to Howard than he is in delivering the first:
For me, you kind of let him do his due diligence and then move in and talk to him and figure out if this is a place he wants to be. We all want him here. But then that's when the selling begins [after Howard is courted by other teams]. You don't start the selling process right before he goes and does all this stuff. You want to get the last word. You want to have the final word and the closing argument.
There's no denying that a number of attractive options will present themselves to Howard. He could join James Harden in Houston, team up with Chris Paul in Atlanta, run with Stephen Curry in Golden State or help Dirk Nowitzki and Mark Cuban make a final championship run in Dallas.
Or he can stay put in L.A., hope that his nightmarish debut season was an anomaly and use the additional financial security the Lakers can offer as insurance in case Mike D'Antoni isn't willing to adjust his system or the Lakers are too old to effectively support him.
That's where Bryant's magic comes in to play, as he also has the greatest championship resume to bring to the negotiating table.
"I'll give him a little opening statement," Bryant said. "But then I have to make sure I have the final word."