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Kupchak clear he wants Howard to stay

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EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) - In words and deeds, the Los Angeles Lakers are making it clear how they feel about Dwight Howard.

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The Lakers took the unusual step earlier this week of putting up billboards around the LA area with a photo of the center and the word ``Stay.'' General manager Mitch Kupchak also addressed his feelings late Thursday night after the NBA draft.

Said Kupchak: ``The message is simple: we care about you and we want you to stay.''

Howard's impending free agency has been prominent in the Lakers' minds since their season ended in a first-round playoff sweep.

Howard, a seven-time All-Star, has vowed to make his decision in his own best interests, giving no indication he favored the Lakers over any other team. The free agency period begins at 9:01 p.m. PDT Sunday.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

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The Associated Press
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