Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 7/2/13

With the free agency period commencing at 12:01 a.m. Monday, the Dwight Howard sweepstakes has officially begun. The Los Angeles Lakers wasted no time in their attempts to convince the free-agent center to re-sign, having actor and longtime Lakers season-ticket holder Jack Nicholson reach out to Howard to stay put in L.A. Nicholson spoke with Howard on the phone about remaining a Laker for the long haul, according to ESPN’s J.A. Adande, Between the massive “#StayD12″ banners, a proposed reality television show with Time Warner Cable and the courtship from a celebrity like Nicholson, Los Angeles is launching a full-fledged campaign to keep the seven-time NBA All-Star in purple and gold. Former Laker and current ESPN  analyst Magic Johnson also joined the campaign with a tweet sent out Monday. .@DwightHoward Stay. #StayD12— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) July 01, 2013 Short and sweet. Howard is expected to meet with the Lakers, Houston Rockets, Golden State Warriors, Dallas Mavericks and Atlanta Hawks. The 27-year-old is reportedly making his decision on July 10, when the NBA’s free-agency moratorium is lifted and players can officially sign with new teams.

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