Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant plans to be part of the presentation on Tuesday to convince free-agent center Dwight Howard to re-sign with the franchise, a league source told Yahoo! Sports.
The Lakers are expected to make the final case to Howard in Los Angeles, letting Houston, Dallas, Golden State and Atlanta go before them. Bryant has offered to be a part of the contingent that will include the Buss family, general manager Mitch Kupchak and possibly coach Mike D'Antoni.
Howard obliged the Lakers' request to have the last word in his free-agency process and are now taking the risk of all risks with their sales pitch.
As Woj notes, the relationship between Kobe and Dwight during the season was tenuous. Rumors of internal conflict dominated the headlines, and reports have since surfaced that Howard isn't thrilled about the idea of continuing his career next to the strong-willed Kobe.
Woj maintains that the two have stayed in touch in the offseason, however, and Kobe has also made it clear he wants Howard back in the Purple and Gold. So that leaves us with this meeting—the one that will prove franchise-altering for the Lakers and career-defining for Howard.
He'll have already heard overtures from the Atlanta Hawks, Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks and even Golden State Warriors, meaning it's up to Kobe's final say to make returning to Hollywood irresistible. Not Mitch Kupchak. Kobe.
In reality, Mamba will be headlining Los Angeles' meet-and-greet with Superman. Kobe is the Lakers. Those five championship rings of his will be placed in front of Howard, not unlike the way Pat Riley helped sell the Miami Heat to LeBron James.
Perhaps adorned in a suit made out of the Lakers' championship banners, Kobe will put his gleaming championship hardware in front of the best center in the NBA, knowing they'll catch his eye.
"Try one on for size," he may say. "See how it feels."
That's how it may go down. Not word-for-word or stitch-for-stitch (the suit), but most certainly something similar.
Kobe and the Lakers know Howard is at the point of his career where he cares about championships above all else. And so Kobe will sell him on titles. Not merely contending for them—winning them.
Once finished, they'll shake hands and go their separate ways, for what the Lakers hope will be an exit that culminates in a reunion. After taking some time to let it all marinate—every single word of every last meeting—Howard will come to a decision.
Then, and only then, will we know if Kobe was able to come through for the Lakers just like he has so many times before.
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