Los Angeles Lakers team executive Jim Buss thinks there is a 95 percent chance the Dwight Howard re-signs when he becomes a free agent this offseason. Howard is currently out with a shoulder injury, but his short time in Los Angeles hasn't been the seamless transition that he had to be hoping for. The team has struggled to a 15-20 start and Howard hasn't looked quite as dominant after offseason back surgery. Still, Buss is confident that Los Angeles is the place for Howard:
"If we make the playoffs, that means we're playing well and I think we'll go deep in the playoffs and I think it's a no-brainer that he stays," Buss said. "I think if it continues to fall apart because of injuries, I'm hoping that we can convince him that, 'Look, everybody was injured. You weren't 100% for the whole year. Let's give it another shot next year.'"
Howard will have financial reasons to heavily consider staying with Los Angeles. His desire for a big market has been well chronicled. However, sometimes that fame comes with a price. Howard's reputation took a major hit with his free agent drama with Orlando last season. The Lakers' slow start hasn't done anything to improve that so far. Still, the financial reality is that Los Angeles can offer more money to Howard than any other team. That is Buss and the Lakers' biggest playing chip.
"It points to 95% that we'll be able to keep him," he continued. "I can't control what he does, but I can sure make a great argument."