The Lakers are getting creative in their pursuit to re-sign center Dwight Howard. (Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images)
The Los Angeles Lakers know if they want to contend for another championship while Kobe Bryant is still on the roster, they must re-sign center Dwight Howard.
Howard will become a free-agent July 1 and can sign with any team, but could make more money if he stays in Los Angeles. A max deal for Howard would be five years, worth $118 million if he stays with the Lakers. If he signs anywhere else, the deal would be four years, $87.6 million.
The Lakers, who have missed the playoffs five times in their entire history, are not bashful in showing they want Howard in purple and gold for the near future.
The Lakers have put a banner on the side of the Staples Center and billboards in other places in the city asking Howard to stay with the team with the hashtag of #stayD12.
A team spokesman said the sign is one of six or seven billboards the team plans on putting up in "various key locations." Howard averaged 17.1 points and 12.4 rebounds in his first season in Los Angeles.
Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak definitely wants Howard in the fold for years to come.
"Dwight is in a category of the great. He's our future," Kupchak said.