Dwight Howard on Lakers Return: I Won’t Play for Free

Getty Free agent center Dwight Howard.

Dwight Howard helped the Los Angeles Lakers win an NBA title and now the veteran big man feels like he deserves a contract with some guarantees.

Howard signed a one-year, non-guaranteed veteran minimum deal for $2.56 million with the Lakers last season, needing to turn his career around after some down seasons.

And to his credit, Howard stepped up as a key role player last season, playing in 69 regular-season games, averaging 7.5 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.1 blocks.

Howard took on a larger role for part of the postseason, starting seven games, scoring 5.8 points and snatching 4.6 rebounds per game in just a tick over 15 minutes per game.

Dwight Howard Looking to Cash In With Next Deal

dwight howard

GettyLas Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard.

Now, Howard is ready to cash with a new contract — with the Lakers or somewhere else. Howard, who is an unrestricted free agent, talked about his goals for his next move with former NBAer Etan Thomas of basketballnews.com.

“I would love to. I would love to come back and play. You know, I think the season that we had this year was like a test for all. We were trying to learn each other and try to figure each other out, and in the process, we won a championship. I would love for all of us to come back. I would love to come back and play for the Lakers again. Hopefully this year they give me a contract … that’s the biggest thing. I don’t want to play for free anymore.

“This year, it was like, ‘okay, I’ll do whatever,’ but I think that I’ve earned a right to have an opinion on a contract for myself. So that’s the biggest thing. But I would definitely love to come back and play for the Lakers. They have the best fans in the world. It’s been amazing. My wife [Te’a Cooper] plays for the Sparks, so it would be great for us to still be in the same city and play.”

Sure, Howard wants another payday, but the man has made some beaucoup bucks in his career. The 2004 No. 1 overall pick has hauled in nearly $240 million in career earnings on the court.

Lakers Want Dwight Howard Back: Report

dwight howard

GettyLos Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard.

Howard made a good impression on the Lakers and the team would like to have him back next season, per Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times.

But the Lakers will have competition, especially if Howard wants a significant raise. LA is doing their best to build around the large contracts of stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis, who is expected to sign a hefty extension with the purple and gold as soon as he’s able to.

While Howard was good at times last season, he also became nearly unplayable in certain situations in the postseason. He barely saw the floor against the Rockets in the conference semifinals and cracked the 20-minute mark in just three games.

Among the teams that could target Howard is Golden State, who have long been without a reliable big man for quite some time.

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