Jeff Van Gundy has long been a constant voice in the basketball community, whether has a head coach in the 90s or, more recently, a TV analyst on ESPN. He recently sat down with L.A. Daily News writer Mark Medina to discuss the Lakers and Dwight Howard.
Van Gundy spoke of his approval of how the Lakers have dealt with Howard so far this off-season.
I like Mitch Kupchak’s stance. More general managers who say they’re not going to participate in a sign-and-trade really put the player in a box… I really like the stance that he’s taking. I think that gives the Lakers the best chance to retain Howard
Earlier this month, news came out that Kupchak and the Lakers had no interest in a sign-and-trade. While the news was seen as leverage in negotiations, the Lakers have still held firm on their stance. Still, the Lakers have remained constant on expressing their interest and desire in keeping Howard a Laker for the future.
By not even entertaining [a sign and trade] and saying, ‘We’re all in. I think he’s a great great player and I think he’s healthy.’ Howard definitely wants to be wanted. He loves the whole recruiting process. He didn’t get it in high school because he decided to go straight to the NBA so I just think he loves the attention. I think Mitch Kupchak not wavering on their interest level in him gives them their best shot at being able to retain him.
This morning, reports came from Chris Broussard that the Lakers were “unlikely” to keep Howard. Nevertheless, the Lakers won’t waver on their pursuit of the big man and are still expecting to get the last word in negotiations, according to Mike Bresnahan, LA Times beat writer.
Whether or not Dwight stays a Laker, I can assure you Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss, as well as the rest of the Lakers front office, will do all they can to keep him.