Ex-Laker & 8-Time All-Star Contemplating Retirement

Dwight Howard, Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony for the Lakers last season

Getty Dwight Howard, Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony for the Lakers last season

A former Los Angeles Lakers star is contemplating retirement because he doesn’t want to play a small bench role.

Eight-time All-Star Dwight Howard, who has had three stints with the Lakers, told Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson on Showtime’s “All The Smoke” that he still wants to play, but there aren’t any teams allowing him to play the role he wants to take on.

“I wanna play, but at the same time, it’s like no teams that really wanna allow me to play,” Howard said. “That’s how I’ve been feeling from the last situation with the Lakers. I felt like I did enough to help them win a championship to really deserve a spot on the team and a chance to start and get big minutes and it didn’t happen. So after that I was like, ‘Man, I don’t wanna have to bust my ass for another whole summer, train three-a-days, go on a crazy diet, do all this sh*t and then get back to a team and sit on the bench when I can really help somebody win and still play.’ Like I ain’t lost a beat. It’s just that I sit on the bench. So people don’t see that. Teams don’t see that and it’s been like, ‘Damn, do I wanna just call it quits and do some other stuff or go back at it and show people I still got?'”

Howard appeared in 60 games for the Lakers last season and averaged 6.2 points and 5.9 rebounds while shooting 61.2% from the field and 65.8% from the free-throw line. Los Angeles signed centers Damian Jones and Thomas Bryant in free agency over the summer, so the franchise didn’t re-sign Howard.

Howard in April: I Love Being a Laker

Howard told reporters during his exit interview in April that he adored playing for the Lakers, who missed the playoffs last season despite having LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and Howard. Frank Vogel was fired as head coach and replaced by Darvin Ham.

“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 in December, 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 and three-time Defensive Player of the Year averaged 13.8 points and 13.2 rebounds per 36 minutes.

A future Hall of Famer, Howard told Bally Sports’ Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson on July 26th that he would “love” to play for the Brooklyn Nets in 2022-23. However, the Nets never signed the former Orlando Magic superstar.

Howard Is One of the Best Players in NBA History

Howard will go down as one of the best players in NBA history if his career is done. He has career averages of 15.7 points, 11.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 1,242 regular-season games with the Magic, Lakers, Houston Rockets, Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, Washington Wizards and Philadelphia 76ers.

An eight-time All-NBA team member, Howard helped the Lakers win the 2020 championship over the Miami Heat at the Walt Disney World bubble. The big man averaged 5.8 points and 4.6 rebounds during the 2020 playoffs.

Howard wasn’t named to the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team, which was a mistake, but he will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer one day.

Read More