Lakers get desperate in effort to convince Dwight Howard to stay
The Lakers are getting especially desperate in their effort to convince Dwight Howard to stay in Los Angeles instead of signing with another team as a free agent.
On Wednesday, the team began tweeting about the billboard campaign they launched around the city to show Howard how much he is wanted. They even started a hashtag “#STAYD12” to get fans to show their love to the center.
[Photos: Lakers put up billboards asking Dwight Howard to stay]
Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak said of the billboards, “We put them up. We care about him & would like him to stay.”
The Lakers continued their full-court press of Howard by sending out two STAYD12-related items from their Twitter account on Friday. The first showed a giant Howard Lakers jersey draped down the side of the illustrious Beverly Hills Hotel:
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) June 29, 2013
No, that’s not actually a billboard on the side of the hotel. A hotel rep told Larry Brown Sports that it must have been a photoshopped picture because there aren’t any Lakers-related images/billboards/paintings on the hotel. However, Howard’s love of Beverly Hills is well known, so putting his jersey on one of the city’s landmarks would probably appeal to him.
The team also sent out this Kobe Bryant quote about Dwight:
"Those guys are hard to find. They don't grow on trees." – @kobebryant #STAYD12 pic.twitter.com/uNOp75j1l8
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) June 28, 2013
That quote from Kobe came in an interview he did two weeks ago with ESPN Radio LA, where he said the Lakers have to lock up Howard.
The Lakers on Wednesday also tweeted out the two images seen below of billboards with the “Stay” Dwight Howard message that appear around the city:
Sunset & La Brea. #STAYD12 pic.twitter.com/0LO7PDjEHx
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) June 27, 2013
If you’re walking Hollywood Blvd. looking down at the stars, don’t miss the one above you. #STAYD12 pic.twitter.com/iI5DIWSb1R
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) June 26, 2013
We have seen some teams put up billboards over the years to try to persuade an athlete to sign with them, but those are teams that don’t have the reputation, tradition, and history of the Lakers. Players generally want to come to the Lakers and will even sign for less money to stay with the team (see Metta World Peace). It’s uncommon to see the Lakers go all out to keep a player, but maybe their efforts will pay off.
Maybe the team has read the reports that Howard is unlikely to re-sign with them and this is their response.