Despite a slow start plagued by injuries, Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon expects Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard to agree to an extension in L.A. by the offseason.
According to Fox Sports Florida, Olajuwon believes that Howard will re-sign this summer and if there's any change in Howard's mind, Olajuwon figures Howard will let him know.
Olajuwon also spoke on the events that took place in the summer of 2011, which he states Howard told him that he wanted out of Orlando after eight seasons primarily due to how he was being used by then-Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, and that he wanted to end up with the Lakers.
When asked whether he believes Howard will re-sign with the Lakers, Olajuwon said this:
"I think so. Because that is where he wanted to be. He wanted to go there."
At the time when Howard told Olajuwon he wanted to be in L.A., Howard had one year left on his contract and an opt-out clause for 2012-13, but in the end eventually chose not too.
"He loves L.A.," Olajuwon said of what Howard told him in 2011 and what he has no reason to no longer believe. "He feels like it's a great chance for him to win a championship, and he wants to be another great center for the Lakers of the future. He thought it was the best fit for him personally. He came to us (in 2011 with one of his representatives to Olajuwon's ranch outside Houston) and they already thought that should be the destination."
Olajuwon also spoke on how surprised he was when he heard about Howard's preference was to play for the Brooklyn Nets during his "Dwightmare" trade saga.
"That was a surprise," Olajuwon said of the Nets. "I don't know where that came from. He was very focused on knowing he wanted to go to the Lakers."
Olajuwon had extended workouts with Howard during the summers of 2010 and 2011 at his ranch house outside Houston. He'll be in attendance at the All-Star Weekend Feb. 15-17 in Houston, where he plans to meet with Howard, the Western Conference All-Star starting center.