Dwight Howard received some good news early in the week when the Los Angeles Lakers decided to make his contract fully guaranteed. Rob Pelinka turned some heads when he signed Howard initially. His first stint with the team didn’t exactly gain him a ton of fans in Los Angeles, but he’s been doing a lot to change minds this season.
Though it’s been far from the most prolific stop in his career, there’s no denying he’s been an impact player for the team. As he’s matured, it clear that Howard has become much more selfless and has started to enjoy his smaller role with the team.
Thanks to several mediocre years in a row, the Lakers are playing with a chip on their shoulder this season. Teams reportedly think the only way they can beat Los Angeles is if they get physical with them, but Howard sent a stern message to the NBA.
“After the last game, the Knicks and the hard foul and stuff like that, we had some messages going back and forth in the group chat about how we gotta come out and dominate teams and let them know we not playing games,” Howard said after Friday’s win against the Dallas Mavericks, via Kyle Goon of the Southern California News Group.
The Lakers took it to the Mavericks on Friday, extending their winning streak to seven games with a 129-114 victory.
Howard Denies Taking Part in Dunk Contest
Howard was the author of one of the most impressive Slam Dunk Contest showings in recent memory. Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that he was going to make a comeback and appear in the 2020 contest. However, the man himself threw cold water on those rumors.
“I don’t know where you guys are getting this information from,” Howard told reporters on Tuesday. “I never said I was doing the dunk contest.”
As epic as it would be to see the legendary dunker return to the contest, it looks like fans won’t be seeing it this year. It’s always possible he has a change of heart, but the 34-year old doesn’t have a lot to prove in that arena.
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LeBron Has Ringing Endorsement of Rob Pelinka
In other news, the Lakers gave Rob Pelinka a massive promotion and contract extension, according to ESPN. He will now be serving as the team’s vice president of basketball operations, while also keeping his duties as general manager. A year ago, this would’ve seemed like a story in The Onion, but based on the work he did this previous offseason, no one doubts he earned it. LeBron James gave Pelinka a big endorsement on Twitter.
Considering all the turmoil he faced heading into the 2019-2020 season, Pelinka has proven many doubters wrong and built a championship contender. The Lakers have struggled to return to the NBA’s elite status, but they now hold the best record in the Western Conference almost halfway through the season. The Lakers’ ownership clearly has faith in Pelinka and that’s a good sign for the future of the team.