Dwight Howard’s final game as a Laker was ugly.
San Antonio early on in its series against the Lakers took to the strategy of fouling Howard hard every time he went up for a shot. San Antonio fronted him in the post, was physical in taking away his position on the block, they collapsed on him (which they could do because there were no healthy Lakers guards to really fear), then finally when Howard would get the ball and start to make a move the Spurs would just foul him. Hard. Howard put up decent numbers through the series — 17 points per game on 61 percent shooting with 10.8 rebounds a contest — but he wasn’t the dominant force the shorthanded Lakers needed against the Spurs, either.
He got frustrated early in the second half of Game 4, pickup up his second technical, and got ejected. He watched the end of the Lakers season from the locker room.
Late Sunday night/Monday morning, Howard took to twitter to apologize to Lakers fans.
That last line sounds like a guy whose preference is to return to Los Angeles next season. Howard is a free agent and will talk to teams besides the Lakers, but throughout the season the strongest indications from him and his camp were always that he wanted to return. And Lakers management has been clear they want him back and will offer him a max contract.
There is a lot of dance to go with Howard this summer, but the smart bet is he is back in Lakers Forum blue and gold next season.