The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Dwight Howard has already informed the Lakers that "he will sign a five-year contract extension next summer." Now, we know what you're thinking, anything that Howard says should be taken with a grain of salt. However, there may be some truth to this one.

After the United States men's basketball team defeated Argentina on Friday, Kobe Bryant spoke with the media about the Dwight trade to L.A. and obviously, the Lakers guard was excited over the prospect of obtaining his 6th ring next season:

“We were a championship team with Andrew (Bynum). Now that Dwight’s in the mix, along with Steve and Antawn (Jamison) coming off the bench and I am sure they will make a couple of other tweaks to the bench, absolutely.”

But Kobe also offered some insight into his future plans and how they relate to Howard's decision to stay with the Lake Show: 

“I will probably play two, three more years. Then the team is his. I am excited for the Laker franchise because they have a player that can carry the franchise well after I am gone. It should be his and he should be willing to accept that challenge.”

The Black Mamba loves playing basketball, so it's hard to believe that KB is going to set a hard deadline on when he will retire from the game and stick to it. Still, Howard has to be excited at the prospect of eventually being the leader on a team in the near future with a franchise as prestigious as the Los Angeles Lakers.   

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[via Sporting News]