The Lakers’ campaign to keep free-agent center Dwight Howard continued Wednesday with two public pleas for Howard to stay.
The first, a billboard at Staples Center, features a photo of the center with the words, “Stay. #stayD12.”
Another variation of the theme has been erected in Hollywood.
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
Howard will officially become a free agent on July 1.
The Houston Rockets may be the Lakers’ greatest competition for Howard but the Dallas Mavericks, Atlanta Hawks and a number of other NBA franchises are also expected to make a pitch.
While Howard can reach a verbal agreement immediately on July 1, he cannot sign a contract until July 10, upon completion of the league’s annual moratorium.
The Lakers can pay Howard up to $118 million for five years. While other teams can only offer up to $88 million over four, the three teams in Texas (San Antonio Spurs, Rockets and Mavericks) have tax advantages that would make up some of the difference.