After spending a few weeks trying to make up his mind regarding the return of the NBA season, Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard told CNN’s Don Lemon that he’ll be joining his team in Orlando and will play. This is very good news for the purple and gold as they already lost Avery Bradley for the season. Though Howard comes off the bench, he’s been one of the most efficient players in the league and has been a strong, veteran presence for the team.
“Basketball will most likely resume and I feel like we have an opportunity, the Lakers do, of winning the title this year,” Howard told Lemon.
Howard has spent over 15 seasons in the NBA and has yet to win a championship. He’s been to the Finals one time and lost to the Lakers. This season represents the best chance he’s ever had at bringing home a ring.
Howard Will Donate Game Checks
Howard has been very vocal about not wanting the return of basketball to distract from the social activism that many players have been participating in. However, he came to the conclusion that he can still make a difference while also being there for his teammates.
“I have an obligation to my teammates, to my fans, the Lakers, the organization … but at the same time, I also have an obligation to my family, to my community,” Howard said. “Yes, I will be joining my team in Orlando but during that time, we will be doing a lot of work here in Atlanta and around the nation as far as making sure people don’t forget about us and what’s going on.”
Howard also put his money where his mouth is and told Lemon that he’ll be using his game checks to fund a charity that he founded.
“I have an initiative that I’m restarting … It’s called ‘Breathe Again’ and during my time in the bubble, I will use that time to talk about ‘Breathe Again’ and I’m going to use my salary … I will use the paychecks that I will be getting when I’m down in the bubble to help push this ‘Breathe Again,'” Howard said.
It’s a big move for Howard to be willing to sacrifice his monetary gain from playing to help charitable causes.
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What This Means for the Lakers
This is excellent news for the Lakers as Howard has been one of their most important bench players all season. With the big man planning to return, that should reduce the chances of Anthony Davis having to play center at any point during the playoffs. While Davis is more than capable at the position, he’s much more effective as a power forward.
JaVale McGee typically handles starting duties and he’s also planning on playing. That means the Lakers have their entire frontcourt intact for the remainder of the season and this all but eliminates any chance of DeMarcus Cousins changing course and signing with the team. One of the Lakers’ biggest strengths is they have excellent size. That’s a big advantage they have over the Clippers and that should still be the case when the two teams inevitably matchup.