Whenever an NBA team doesn't win a championship, Steve Nash believes it's inevitable changes will happen in the offseason. But the Lakers guard stated in strong terms that he hopes that doesn't involve Dwight Howard.

"I'm very hopeful that Dwight will be back," Nash said. "I think this is the place for him. He's in the prime of his career. He's got his best years ahead of him. He can play for one of the greatest franchises in sports and an amazing city. This has got to be the place for him, and I'm hopeful that he sees it that way."

Howard hasn't publicly stated his intentions. He would earn $117.9 " million with a five-year deal if he signed with the Lakers. He would earn $87.9 million over four years if he went somewhere else. Yet, plenty of Lakers, including Jodie Meeks, Chris Duhon and Earl Clark, all sounded confident Howard would return.

"I know he loves this city. I know he loves the team," Meeks said. "We got pretty close this year as friends - from the same hometown (Atlanta). I can't really say exactly what he's going to do, but I know he likes the city."

Plenty of things plagued Howard, though. He played through the entire season plagued by back surgery and a torn labrum in his right shoulder.

Howard averaged 17.1 points and 12.4 rebounds, his lowest numbers since the 2006-07 season. Howard went through adjustments playing with Kobe Bryant, adapting to his domineering personality and handling the heightened media scrutiny.