Whenever an NBA team doesn’t win a championship, Steve Nash believes it’s inevitable changes will happen in the offseason. But the Lakers guard stated in strong terms that he hopes that doesn’t involve Dwight Howard.
“I’m very hopeful that Dwight will be back,” Nash said. “I think this is the place for him. He’s in the prime of his career. He’s got his best years ahead of him. He can play for one of the greatest franchises in sports and an amazing city. This has got to be the place for him and I’m hopeful that he sees it that way.”
Howard hasn’t publicly stated his intentions. But returning to the Lakers seems a no brainer for various reasons. Howard would earn $117.9 million with a five-year deal if he signed with the Lakers. He would earn $87.9 million over four years if he went somewhere else. The Lakers also have an extensive resume, what with their 16 NBA championships and history of esteemed centers ranging from George Mikan, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O’Neal.
But plenty of things plagued Howard. He played through the entire season plagued by back surgery and a torn labrum in his right shoulder. Howard averaged 17.1 points and 12.4 rebounds, his lowest numbers since the 2006-07 season. Howard went through adjustments playing with Kobe Bryant, adapting to his domineering personality and handling the heightened media scrutiny.
Howard at times, openly argued with Nash on the court over failed defensive rotations and pick-and-roll sequences.
“Of course, you’re going to see the lows and those are going to be highlighted,” Nash said. “To me generally, it was really good. Dwight and myself formed a relationship. Dwight was a good presence throughout the year.”
Even when the Lakers started off 17-25, they ended the season going 28-12. Nash believes that serves as evidence that his partnership with Howard could thrive with more time.
“The big picture is the relationships were formed, relationships were kept,” Nash said. “I think that’s the only reason we didn’t sputter out of control.”
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org