Dwight Howard is no longer with the Los Angeles Lakers, and Lakers executive vice president of player personnel Jim Buss says Howard was "never really a Laker", just "passing through" instead, Ric Bucher revealed while profiling of the organization for The Hollywood Reporter:
After Howard bolted, Jim turned on his former star, saying he wasn't surprised or dismayed. "He was never really a Laker," says Jim. "He was just passing through."
Howard entered unrestricted free agency on July 1 and ultimately chose the Houston Rockets as his destination after taking meetings with the Dallas Mavericks, Golden State Warriors and Atlanta Hawks as well.
The Lakers launched a "#StayD12" campaign featuring photoshops on iconic Los Angeles landmarks spread via social media, billboards, moving freeway signs and a full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times. In the end, the campaign did not sway Howard to re-sign with the franchise.
Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak has previously stated that he was not surprised that Howard chose the Rockets, the team he suspected was in the lead for the big man's services going into free agency.
Howard averaged 17.1 points (his lowest average since 2005-2006) and a league-leading 12.4 rebounds per game. He made an early return from back surgery and dealt with a torn labrum through much of the season yet still played in 76 of the Lakers 82 regular season games.
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