Lakers unveil 'Stay' billboards urging Dwight Howard to re-sign in free agency

Thursday June 27th, 2013

(@Lakers) The Lakers have erected a billboard at the Staples Center urging Dwight Howard to re-sign as a free agent. (@Lakers)

Charming or desperate? That's always a fine line when it comes to courtship.

The Lakers began placing billboards around Los Angeles urging center Dwight Howard to re-sign when he becomes an unrestricted free agent next month. The billboards feature photographs of Howard alongside the word "STAY" and a corresponding "#STAYD12" hashtag.

Howard, 27, averaged 17.1 points, 12.4 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in his only season with the Lakers after being acquired from the Magic in a four-team blockbuster trade last summer. The seven-time All-Star told reporters after the Lakers were swept by the Spurs in the first round of the playoffs that he planned to "step away" before considering his free agency options.

"I’m going to step away from everything for a couple weeks and clear my head before I do or talk about anything, as far as next season," Howard said in April. "I think I deserve that. That’s what I’m going to do."

Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak told this week that he believes Howard is a Hall of Famer.

"He's our future," Kupchak said.

The Lakers uploaded photos of the billboards to Twitter on Wednesday. reports that there will be "six or seven" billboards in total; photos show the billboards are already up at the Staples Center and on Hollywood Boulevard.

(@Lakers) A Dwight Howard billboard on Hollywood Boulevard. (@Lakers)

The Orange County Register asked a Lakers spokesman for a comment on the billboard strategy.

"[Howard] is very important to both our present and future," the spokesman replied.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.