Dwight Howard Likely to Leave LA?

There is very little chance of Dwight Howard re-signing with the Los Angeles Lakers this summer, according to sources close to the situation.

Howard is willing to forgo the extra $30 million the Lakers can pay him to play for a coach and in a system he feels will better use his skill set, one source said.

The Lakers can offer Howard a five-year, $118 million contract, while other teams can pay him only $88 million over four years.

Howard plans to meet with Dallas, Houston and Atlanta before meeting with the Lakers once teams are allowed to contact free agents beginning July 1, a source said. It appears that the teams will visit Howard in Los Angeles.

Howard is notoriously indecisive, so the Lakers, while apparently major underdogs, should not be completely eliminated from contention. Before the 2011-12 season, he repeatedly asked the Orlando Magic to trade him, and then at midseason he opted in to the final year of his contract to remain in Orlando.

Howard’s major problem with the Lakers is the system that coach Mike D’Antoni employs. Beyond that, he did not enjoy playing with Kobe Bryant, though he could manage to do so in a different system, a source said. Howard also does not want to be second fiddle to Bryant for several more seasons.

While many believe Houston is the Lakers’ stiffest competition, sources say Howard finds Dallas just as appealing, if not more. Assuming the Mavericks are able to clear enough cap space to offer him a maximum-salaried contract, Howard is strongly considering joining Dallas. The Mavericks are trying to shed Shawn Marion’s $9 million expiring contract to create the room to sign Howard, according to sources.

Source: Chris Broussard, ESPN

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