Last year, the Los Angeles Lakers were bad because they had an old roster of ill-fitting pieces that couldn’t stay healthy. This offseason, the team made a concerted effort to get younger but still put together a roster that doesn’t fit well together. With Thomas Bryant injured, the Lakers have used Anthony Davis extensively at center. Damian Jones has played so poorly as his backup that he’s fallen out of the rotation.
In hindsight, the team may have been better off bringing back an older veteran to play center. Dwight Howard recently announced that he’s going to play for the Taoyuan Leopards in Taiwan but that wasn’t his first choice. In fact, he really wanted to stay in Los Angeles this year but the Lakers didn’t want to give him a multi-year contract.
“I would’ve went willing to go back to the Lakers,” Howard said on the “Club Shay Shay” podcast. “I’ve been willing to go back. They told me every time we not gonna give nobody over 30 a multiple-year contract. So I’m like, ‘Dang, I just helped y’all win the NBA championship. Y’all could get your boy a mil or two or give me a mil. I don’t want a whole bunch of minutes. Give me 20 minutes and let me ball out.'”
Should Lakers Have Signed Howard?
Howard is certainly painting the Lakers as the bad guy for not giving him a multi-year deal but there weren’t any other teams making that offer. Unfortunately for Howard, he’s at the stage of his career where he won’t be getting another big contract. Players in their 30s get multi-year contracts all the time. The Lakers just gave one to LeBron James in the offseason and he’s almost 40.
Howard just doesn’t impact winning anymore. He’s an eight-time All-Star and will be in the Hall of Fame one day but he’s not that player anymore. He was with the Lakers last season but didn’t do much to make them better. He was great for them during the championship run during the 2019-2020 season. He made 73.2% of his shots and was a key player off the bench for that team. However, he’s not as much of a fit anymore. He’ll always be remembered fondly by the fan base due to the championship run but his days as a Laker are likely over.
Thomas Bryant Not Close to Returning
Davis has been seeing most of his minutes at center this season. It was always thought that he was better at the position but perhaps that’s only in small doses. The Lakers would be wise to put him back at power forward but they can’t do that right now. Jones hasn’t been playing well enough to earn a spot in the starting lineup.
Bryant could certainly help as he’s proven to be a solid big man when healthy. The problem is that he’s rarely healthy and he’s already having injury setbacks with the Lakers. He’s been out since the start of the season with a thumb injury and was recently reevaluated. According to head coach Darvin Ham, Bryant is still not close to returning, via Kyle Good of the OC Register.