Lakers Stars Named Targets for Eastern Conference Contender: Report

Dwight Howard, Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony

Getty Dwight Howard, Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony

Two Los Angeles Lakers stars have been named targets for an Eastern Conference contender.

Heavy’s Sean Deveney spoke to an Eastern Conference exec who said that Dwight Howard and Carmelo Anthony would fit well on the Brooklyn Nets.

“They need another big guy, but they’re not feeling a lot of pressure as far as filling that spot,” the exec told Deveney. “There are veterans they can sign this month or even early next month. Dwight Howard would be the obvious one, maybe Hassan Whiteside. Cody Zeller is out there, too. They want to see what they have with Nic Claxton, but they want some insurance there, too.

“And they’re going to play (Ben) Simmons there quite a bit in small-ball lineups. I’d expect them to keep 14 guys, keep one spot open. There has been some talk about them signing Carmelo Anthony, maybe as a nod to Kevin Durant, but obviously, that has not gotten anywhere, at least not yet.”

Howard averaged 6.2 points and 5.9 rebounds while shooting 61.2% from the field and 65.8% from the free-throw line last season. The Lakers signed centers Damian Jones and Thomas Bryant in free agency this offseason, so Howard may not have a spot in Los Angeles anymore.

Meanwhile, Anthony appeared in 69 games for the Lakers in 2021-22. The veteran swingman averaged 13.3 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.0 assists while shooting 44.1% from the floor, 37.5% from beyond the arc and 83.0% from the free-throw line. He is close friends with LeBron James, who signed a two-year extension with Los Angeles on August 18th.

Howard Would Love to Play for Nets

Howard, who appeared in 60 games for the Lakers last season, told Bally Sports’ Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson on July 26th that he would “love” to play for the Nets. The three-time Defensive Player of the Year is currently an unrestricted free agent.

However, it’s worth mentioning that Howard informed reporters during his exit interview in April that he would like to re-sign with the Lakers, who won only 33 games in 2021-22.

“Do I want to come back? Why would I want to leave? I want to be cemented somewhere. I love being here. I love the fans,” Howard said. “I would just really like an opportunity to where I can really go out and go out with a bang. I’ve only got a couple years left. So I want an opportunity where I can go out and show my skills and talent and do it in the right way, but also win. I feel like I deserve that.”

Howard, who will turn 37 during the 2022-23 season, averaged only 16.2 minutes per game last season, the lowest of his storied career. His per-36-minutes stats were rather good, though. The two-time blocks champion averaged 13.8 points and 13.2 rebounds per 36 minutes.

Anthony on Lakers: ‘This Was Another Chapter for Me’

On April 11th, Anthony spoke with Dave McMenamin of ESPN about his experience with the Lakers, who missed the playoffs last season. The one-time scoring champion scored at least 20 points 11 times for Los Angeles, proving he’s still a talented scorer off the bench.

“This was another chapter for me,” Anthony told McMenamin. “I can say I’ve experienced it. … I can finally check the box — played with Bron. Played with AD. We had, on paper — we were phenomenal on paper. Me, personally, I had a good year, personally. Just as far as happiness and being able to go out there and compete and being able to do my part, play my part on this team. There were good days, there were bad days, but we got through it, and I got through it.”

The Nets are currently dealing with Kevin Durant’s trade request. They are not expected to make any moves in free agency until that situation is resolved.

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