EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (CBSLA.com/AP) — Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak, Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and other representatives of the team met Tuesday for two hours with free agent center Dwight Howard to make their pitch for keeping him in Los Angeles.
“At the meeting, we told him how important he is to the Lakers team, franchise, fans and community, and why we feel this is the best place for him to continue his career,” Kupchak said in a statement released by the team. “We are hopeful that Dwight decides to remain a Laker.”
Howard became one of the NBA’s most coveted free agents when free agency opened Monday. The Lakers have made no secret they want to keep him.
Howard, a seven-time All-Star, has vowed to make his decision in his own best interests, giving no indication he favored the Lakers over any other team.
The Lakers can offer a maximum of $118 million over five seasons, and other teams can offer $88 million over four years.
Howard shot .578 percent for the Lakers in 2012-13, and grabbed 945 total rebounds through 76 games. Excluding his final year with the Orlando Magic, in which he played in 54 games before undergoing back surgery, Howard had his worst season in terms of points on the board (1296 points) since 2005-06.
Other teams that have spoken with Howard include the favored Houston Rockets, Golden State Warriors, Dallas Mavericks, and Atlanta Hawks.
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