Despite his checkered history with the Lakers, Dwight Howard is making his return to Los Angeles. In the wake of the DeMarcus Cousins injury, the Lakers scrambled to find a replacement big man and after working out Howard, Joakim Noah, and Marreese Speights, the Lakers landed on a reunion with Howard as their best option.
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Dwight Howard to Sign With Lakers After Grizzlies Buyout [Report]
Signed to the Lakers on a non-guaranteed contract, Howard is expected to join the Lakers once his buyout with the Grizzlies is finalized. Coming off a season almost entirely lost due to injury, the deal should serve to protect the Lakers if Howard winds up not performing as expected in training camp.
Despite being dealt to the Grizzlies, Memphis never had much of an intention to play Howard – much less keep him around. Unlike their situation involving Andre Iguodala, Howard was a much less desirable asset and a trade market doesn’t necessarily exist for the aging big man coming off a series of injuries last year. As a result, a buyout was imminent from the start, though Howard likely held off until he found himself a suitable team to play for instead.
Howard should bring a strong interior rebounding presence to the Lakers and is someone who can step in and protect the rim while JaVale McGee sits. While the Lakers no longer have a floor-spacing stretch option at the five, the team should still have enough shooting at the guard and wing spots to keep the paint from getting TOO congested.
Dwight Howard Gets Second Chance in Los Angeles
To say Dwight’s first go-round with the Lakers was a disaster might be underselling things a bit. The marquee offseason acquisition for the Lakers, he was expected to pair with Kobe Bryant and fellow newcomer Steve Nash to form one of the NBA’s most feared three-headed monsters. Unfortunately, Howard never seemed to get comfortable in LA as he saw his scoring numbers and rebounding numbers dip (though he still led the league in rebounding) as the Lakers made an early exit from the playoffs.
In the ensuing offseason, Howard would opt to leave an extra year and more money on the table in Los Angeles to take his talents to the Houston Rockets. Bryant and Howard notoriously clashed heads on a number of occasions and the following year, the two nearly came to blows with Kobe repeatedly calling Howard “soft” while being restrained by teammates.
While the disaster in Los Angeles was far from Howard’s sole responsibility, he certainly took the bulk of the blame. Brought in to be the face of the franchise moving forward, Howard hit choppy waters and immediately jumped ship – rightfully earning him the scorn of Laker fans across the nation. While not expected to play NEARLY as big of a role as his first go-round, Howard could go a long ways towards helping earn back the hearts and minds of Laker fans by accepting his role and providing quality minutes off the bench for a team expected to contend for a title.