The Lakers got their chance to beg Dwight Howard to stay in Los Angeles on Tuesday, offering something more than the $ 118 million maximum contract that no other team can match.
Anybody want to tune into The Dwight Howard Show?
Reports out of L.A. said that Time Warner Cable and Howard have had “preliminary” talks about Howard having his own TV show. The cable giant is already a business partner with the Lakers, who signed a TV deal in 2012 that could be worth $ 5 billion over 25 years.
Time Warner had representatives in the Laker delegation that met with Howard for two hours in Beverly Hills. The NBA had no problem with Time Warner being part of the pitch to keep the best free agent of 2013 in L.A. But the league will draw the line if Time Warner tries to offer Howard further compensation, above what the Lakers can offer, in exchange for his signature on a new deal. That would violate league compensation rules.
Mark J. Terrill/AP
Kobe Bryant (l.) and Dwight Howard don’t exactly thrive together last season, but the Lakers want to keep the duo intact for the forseeable future.
One report called Time Warner “desperate” for original programming. Giving Howard his own show would seem to confirm that, although it’s guaranteed to get boffo ratings with an appearance from Howard’s former coach in Orlando, Stan Van Gundy. That would fall under the category of must-watch TV.
But the Lakers are desperate, in their own right, to have Howard sign with them on July 10, when signings can begin. They sent GM Mitch Kupchak early Monday morning to have a quick hello with Howard when free agency started. Their meeting Tuesday involved Kupchak, team executive Jim Buss, coach Mike D’Antoni, Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash.
The Lakers like their chances of getting Howard to re-sign because they can add a marquee free agent or two next summer when they’ll have only Nash under contract. LeBron James can opt out of his deal next summer, as can Carmelo Anthony, although neither has hinted about moving on from his current team. Despite the Lakers’ promising future cap situation, it’s a widespread belief among league execs that Howard in the next few days will probably accept Houston’s $ 88 million offer and leave L.A. That will allow him to join a team where the pressure to win championships is virtually non-existent, compared to what is expected in L.A.
But in Houston, he won’t get his own TV show, either.
Earlier Tuesday, the Mavs met for three hours with Howard and are regarded as an outside possibility, only because Howard’s agent, Dan Fegan, and Mavs owner Mark Cuban have a close relationship. But there’s also talk that the Mavs are ready to make a run at ex-Laker center Andrew Bynum. The Mavs will probably be able to land Bynum at a cheaper price than Howard, while also bringing in the point guard they need to help upgrade their shaky roster. Bynum never played for the Sixers last season, due to knee problems, after going to Philly in the Howard deal. The Mavs, who have done nothing to upgrade their roster since winning the title in 2011, might just be desperate enough to take a chance. Their other targets are Josh Smith or Andre Iguodala. . . . The Clippers landed one of the top free-agent perimeter shooters in J.J. Redick, who gets a four-year deal worth around $ 27 million in a sign-and-trade agreement. Eric Bledsoe and Caron Butler go to the Suns from the Clippers, while Reddick’s former team, the Bucks, get two second-round picks. The Clips also get Jared Dudley. . . . As expected, David West agreed to stay in Indiana, for $ 36 million over three years. West’s strong veteran leadership kept Lance Stephenson in line last season. . . . The Pelicans’ offer to Tyreke Evans, worth upwards of $ 12 million per season over four years, floored the folks back in Sacramento. The Kings’ new owner, Vivek Ranadive, doesn’t want to match, not with the 2010 Rookie of the Year displaying poor work habits and a lack of drive while making just over $ 17 million in his first four seasons in Sacramento.