This year’s free agency definitely includes some interesting names but Dwight Howard seems to lead the pack.  Whether or not he’ll re-sign with the Los Angeles Lakers remains up in the air but his teammate Kobe Bryant isn’t being subtle about wanting him to stay. Read more after the jump.

Shay Marie

via LA Times

Bryant is confident the team can compete for a title if Dwight Howard re-signs this summer. He noted he’ll talk to the Lakers center again before he makes a decision on free agency.

“I’d love to see us pick up next season where we left off this season prior to these injuries,” Bryant said. “We were playing some good basketball — things were flowing. We’ll have to make some adjustments in terms of getting a little longer, having a couple of guys on the floor who can cover ground, and cover ground quickly.  If we do those things, I like our chances.”

Bryant’s quest for a sixth ring is no secret and he knows what it’ll take to get there.  Though much of the year rumors about squabbles between he and Dwight ran rampant, he’s insistent that he wants Howard to stay.  The Lakers can offer Howard a larger contract as well as a bigger market than their competitors.  Still Dwight may choose a younger team with less pressure and somewhere he’s the big fish in the pond again.  He reportedly has strong interest in the Houston Rockets and could be courted by Dallas, Atlanta, Golden State and Cleveland, we’ll see what happens.