There has been a sense of urgency in the Lakers organization to make Dwight Howard as comfortable as possible so that he will want to stay in Los Angeles. The 6'11” All-Star's contract is up at the end of this season, and the Lakers want to do everything possible to make him want to sign a max contract with them.
This may be part of the reason that they opted for Mike D'Antoni to coach the team instead of Phil Jackson, because it gives Dwight a fresh start, like he said he wanted. Under Jackson, Howard would certainly be following in Shaquille O'Neil's footsteps.
It seems like everything is going in the Lakers favor to keep the big man. He's already fallen in love with the city and the weather, which isn't shocking, and paid cash for a multi-million dollar mansion in Bel Air.
Now, the team is winning under a new coach, and Dwight is saying some pretty telling things. The center said:
“There's a reason why I'm here in L.A. I'm going to take advantage of all the opportunities that I have here and I'm going to make the best of this situation because at the end of the day, this is the best situation for me. So I'm happy."
That's all they need is for Dwight to be happy and in the best situation possible.
He's also got Steve Nash as a point guard for this season, and two more, which is definitely reason to be happy.
Dwight has gotten over his fear of being compared to Shaq, which to be honest, was understandable, but shouldn't have played a real factor in his choice for this reason:
"I would tell people I didn't want to come here and people would think I was trying to follow in somebody else's footsteps and be just like somebody else. But then once I got here, I just felt like there was no need to worry about people saying I'm following somebody else, but I could blaze my own trail while I'm here, and that's what I plan on doing."
While they're both dominant big men, they're different and play differently. Dwight has more than enough opportunity to be a completely singular, and still iconic Laker.
Reading into everything he's saying, it looks like Dwight will be more than happy to sign a new contract with the Lakers.
Then again, he said he wanted to stay in Orlando too.
It remains to be seen, but right now, if the Lakers get a ring, his decision is all but certain.