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NBA Playoffs Roundtable: Dwight Howard and Los Angeles Lakers Edition

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The Los Angeles Lakers made an early postseason exit Sunday evening, after being swept by the San Antonio Spurs. Now the team will enter an offseason full of uncertainty. Will Dwight Howard stay with the team? Was this result to be expected? Should the Lakers amnesty Pau Gasol? Our writers give their take.

Apr 17, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard (12) reacts during the game against the Houston Rockets at the Staples Center. The Lakers defeated the Rockets 99-95 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Does Dwight Howard stay in L.A.? If not, where do you see him going?

David Walker: These offseason prognostications of where a player should or will go are always difficult as it’s impossible to gauge where each player’s priorities are. However, there is not a ton of precedent for a player to forgo the best financial offer, and the Lakers can offer Dwight Howard the most money with the most years and the biggest contract incentives. If he chooses to go elsewhere, Houston seems the best option as they already have a star in James Harden and can very easily get far enough under the cap to throw Howard the max.

Anthony Brown: I believe Dwight stays a Laker if for no other reason than his image. After forcing his way out of Orlando and letting frustrations get the best of him in what would be his final game as a Laker if he leaves, Howard is seen as a gigantic child. Moving on to another team would only cement the idea that when the going gets tough, D12 shrinks. His only chance of fixing his tattered image is to stand tall in the face of adversity.

Adam Lowenstein: Many players dream of getting to play for the Los Angeles Lakers, one of the NBA’s best all-time franchises. Dwight Howard is there, and should remain in La La Land because the team is always fighting for the playoffs. Statistically and in reality, Howard was the team’s best defensive player. During the regular season, the Lakers were five points better per 100 defensive possessions when Superman was playing. I lean towards him staying in Los Angeles because he understands that he is needed.

Connor Cook: Despite the super rough season in LA, I imagine he’ll stay with the Lakers. The only other teams I could see really interesting him are the Mavericks and the Rockets, who would have to likely find a taker for Omer Asik or Jeremy Lin to make enough cap room to sign him.

Next page: Did the Lakers underachieve, or was this kind of exit to be expected?…

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