Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Houston Rockets are frontrunners to sign Howard, an unrestricted free agent, this summer. Houston is pulling out all the stops to win over the 27-year-old center. If Los Angeles wants to be relevant next season, it must out suck-up the Rockets.
Here is the art that the Lakers have put up around the city asking Howard to stay.
The billboards won’t be enough.
Wojnarowski’s report detailed Houston’s pitch to Howard and it’s a strong one.
Los Angeles can offer him a superior five-year contract worth over $117 million, but Texas’ state taxes pale in comparison to California’s. The Rockets’ success in China’s market will also help make up for a smaller NBA contract with larger sneaker and marketing potential.
CSNHouston.com’s Howard Chen reported that, along with CEO Tad Brown and general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets will also send Hakeem Olajuwon, Clyde Drexler and Chandler Parsons to their meeting with Howard on Sunday night.
Houston is doing too much for Los Angeles to only woo Howard with its words. Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak told Howard that he cares about him and Kobe Bryant called the seven-time All-Star “extremely, extremely valuable,” but actions speak louder.
The Rockets have built their roster and system around Howard. According to Wojnarowski’s sources, Howard’s greatest gripes with the Lakers are about the roster and system. He hates Mike D’Antoni’s offense and being the second option to Bryant in that offense.
A wise Kupchak would fire D’Antoni if that’s what it took to re-sign Howard. A wise Bryant would vow to allow the offense to run through the best center in the league. Unless Los Angeles makes more moves to persuade Howard to stay, he’ll leave for a Rockets team much more determined to sign him.
David Daniels is a breaking news writer at Bleacher Report and news editor at Wade-O Radio.