While the entire NBA world appears to be focused on Dwight Howard’s impending free agency decision, several of his Los Angeles Lakers teammates are taking more hands-off approaches to the drama.

On Monday, Pau Gasol said that he hadn't spoken to Howard and respected his need to take time to come to a decision, and Kobe Bryant had even stronger sentiments in an interview with ESPNLA.com’s Dave McMenamin that same day.

“For me, you kind of let him do his due diligence and then move in and talk to him and figure out if this is a place he wants to be," Bryant said to ESPNLA.com. “We all want him here. But then that's when the selling begins [after Howard is courted by other teams]. You don't start the selling process right before he goes and does all this stuff. You want to get the last word. You want to have the final word and the closing argument.

“I'll give him a little opening statement, but then I have to make sure I have the final word.”

Howard could be courted by several teams, including Houston, Dallas, Golden State and Atlanta, and he’s reportedly expressed interest in joining a young, promising Rockets team. With free agency, which begins July 1, still nearly a month away, Howard has plenty of time to ponder his options and determine whether the added year and extra money the Lakers can offer might trump the situations he’ll face elsewhere. (Texas’ lack of state income tax will also factor into that decision.)
If there seems to be radio silence in all directions right now, apart, of course, from the rampant speculation, that’s why. Howard still has weeks to ponder, and Bryant, for one, isn’t going to launch his attack until he knows more about where the big man’s mindset stands.