The Los Angeles Lakers welcomed Dwight Howard back on Monday, with the free agent big man deciding to return to the team to chase a championship.
Howard’s return to the Lakers was first reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic, who spoke directly with Howard’s agent, Qais Haider. The terms of the deal were not immediately disclosed, but considering the Lakers cap situation, many believe it’s for the veteran’s minimum.
It didn’t take long for Howard to react to the news, posting on Instagram: “Let’s run it back.” The most important part of the post was the hashtag “#iwantmyparadedammit,” a reference to the Lakers not being able to have a parade after winning the title in the bubble due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
All signs pointed to Howard returning to Los Angeles for a third tour of duty. Last week Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times reported that Howard was “ready to return and play center” for the Lakers.
Howard averaged 7.0 points and 8.4 rebounds last season with Philadelphia. He provided nearly 20 minutes per game, 7.5 points and 7.3 rebounds with the Lakers in the year prior during their title run.
Dwight Howard Vital Piece Upon Return to Lakers
The Lakers needed to figure out the center position after a season of inconsistency with Marc Gasol, Andre Drummond and Montrezl Harrell. Gasol is the only center under contract for next season, although it’s uncertain the 36-yeard-old will return to the Lakers.
For what it’s worth, the Lakers said they’d welcome Drummond back. However, that was before they knew Howard would be in the mix. Drummond wound up signing, oddly enough, in Philadelphia.
“Dre was great for us,” Vogel told reporters in a June 4 media conference. “Let me start by saying that. We’re hopeful that he’s a Laker for a long time. He played well for us and was a good culture fit. He fit in well with the guys and was very well-liked.”
Harrell opted into his player option but is heading to Washington as part of the deal for Russell Westbrook.
Anthony Davis to Play More at Center Position
Davis doesn’t like playing the center position, but to make the Lakers’ new “Big Three” work with Westbrook and LeBron James, he’s open to making the move, per Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times:
They talked about putting their egos aside and playing as one in their quest to bring the Lakers another NBA championship. Westbrook talked about how his only intention was winning and coming back home to Los Angeles to become a champion.
James and Davis talked about the two of them changing positions if that was best for the team — James moving from small forward to power forward and Davis from power forward to center.
Westbrook let James and Davis know he doesn’t mind playing off the ball when James initiates the offense, something he did while playing alongside James Harden with the Houston Rockets.
We’ll see how everything shakes out for the Lakers and what pieces fall into place for the rest of free agency.