It looks like the idea of Dwight Howard joining the Los Angeles Lakers is gaining more and more momentum.
With the Lakers expressing interest in a reunion with the 33-year-old veteran center and the Memphis Grizzlies now granting permission for the Purple and Gold to speak with the big man, the possibility of Howard playing in a Lakers jersey for a second season in 2019-20 isn’t a far-fetched thought at all.
In fact, according to a couple of anonymous NBA executives, the idea of Howard re-signing with the Lakers once he’s waived by the Grizzlies is viewed positively.
Frank Urbina and Alex Kennedy of Hoops Hype detailed what a couple of executives had to say regarding a reunion between both sides.
“Personal baggage aside, I would sign him,” one executive told HoopsHype. “He’s clearly the best player available if he’s healthy. We’ve heard the same song from him for years [as far as changing]. But for the minimum? Why not? If it doesn’t work, they move on.”
Another executive thought it was a risk worth taking considering the Lakers could simply move on from Howard without much cost if it doesn’t work out.
Another executive also reacted positively: “I think it’s worth the risk for them. If it doesn’t work out, they can cut bait.”
When Howard bolted the Lakers for the Houston Rockets as a free agent during the 2013 offseason, No. 12 became public enemy No. 1 in Los Angeles. In fact, it’s no coincidence that since Howard left Los Angeles, the Lakers have become one of the biggest struggling franchises in the NBA. They haven’t made the playoffs since the last season Howard was in a Lakers jersey and until signing LeBron James last offseason, Los Angeles lacked a true franchise star as Kobe Bryant waned in his twilight years.
The history between both sides is a rough one — especially when one considers that the Lakers went all-in on Howard to be their franchise star, only for him to leave — but both the franchise and the player are desperate.
In fact, the former three-time Defensive Player of the Year said long before DeMarcus Cousins’ injury that he would be open to the idea of playing for the Lakers again. Not only did he open up the possibility of re-signing, he said “he loved Los Angeles” during his time there, during an interview with Arash Markazi of the Los Angeles Times.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I do love L.A. Staples Center is going to be rocking this season,” said Howard. “When I played there it was rocking every night. The atmosphere is crazy.”
While Howard can’t make people completely forget about his checkered past in Los Angeles and while he’s certainly not the player that he was even in his lone disappointing season with the Lakers, he can make amends by helping lead the current incarnation of the team — featuring superstars LeBron and Anthony Davis — to a championship.
The Lakers are completely thin at the big man positions following Cousins’ season-ending torn ACL injury suffered during a pickup game last week. They definitely put a damper on the idea that the Lakers are the second-biggest betting favorites to win a championship next season, according to Odds Shark.
But with a legit big man in Howard who still remains productive in the advanced stages of his career, maybe the Lakers can still live up to those championship expectations.
They just have to give Howard a second chance.
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