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Report: Howard to decide Friday

Image: Dwight Howard (Michael Buckner/WireImage)
Dwight Howard could decide where he will play next season by Friday.
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The Dwightmare might soon be coming to an end.

Dwight Howard, who has met with five teams during his free-agent world tour, is leaving California to take a few days to mull over his options, according to Yahoo! Sports.

The Houston Rockets, Atlanta Hawks, Golden State Warriors, Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers have all made their pitches to the star big man in hopes of signing him to a long-term deal. The Mavs and Lakers met with Howard on Tuesday, the final two teams to meet with the sought-after center.

Howard could have a decision this week. Peter Vecsey reports Howard plans to make his decision Friday.

The Lakers can offer him $30 million more than any other team, but Howard had an up-and-down first season in Los Angeles in 2012-13. He averaged 17.1 points and 12.4 rebounds while playing through shoulder and back issues. He also didn’t seem to flourish in Mike D’Antoni’s perimeter-oriented offense, a point of contention that might sway Howard’s ultimate decision.

Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak, Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and other representatives of the team met with Howard for about two hours.

''At the meeting, we told him how important he is to the Lakers team, franchise, fans and community, and why we feel this is the best place for him to continue his career,'' Kupchak said in a statement released by the team. ''We are hopeful that Dwight decides to remain a Laker.''

The Lakers can offer a maximum of $118 million over five seasons, and other teams can offer $88 million over four years.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Tagged: Lakers, Dwight Howard

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