Dwight Howard, after a tumultuous recent existence in the NBA, is set to return to the place to which the origins of his decline can arguably be attributed. After being officially waived the Grizzlies on Saturday, Howard is expected to join the Lakers on a non-guaranteed deal after he clears waivers.
The eight-time All-Star has bounced around the NBA the past four years, suiting up for the Rockets, Hawks, Hornets and Wizards since the 2015/16 season. After being one of the NBA’s elite players his first eight seasons with the Magic, Howard has not made an All-Star team since 2014 and has been saddled with the worrisome reputation in regards to his style of play and demeanor.
As we detailed on Friday, Howard showed up to the Lakers’ facility a day before his scheduled meeting. He reportedly struck an emotional chord with Lakers brass, showing his awareness that he’s “hit rock bottom” in his career and is motivated to prove his doubters wrong. It was also noted that Howard showed up in great shape and is considered to be past the back injuries that have hampered him in recent years.
Howard originally joined the Lakers for the 2012/13 season as part of a blockbuster trade. He teamed with Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash in hopes of forming a super-team in a chase for a title. However, injuries, an adversarial relationship with Bryant, and an uncertain future (given he was headed for free agency) clouded his tenure in L.A.
After DeMarcus Cousins‘ recent injury, the Lakers developed a need for a veteran big man who can rebound and defend the paint. A former three-time Defensive Player of the Year, Howard certainly has the track record to fill that void. However, the question is whether or not he can stay healthy and not become a distraction.
How do you see Howard’s return to the Lakers shaking out? Can he adjust to a reduced role and prove himself as a capable NBA player? Can the 33-year-old stay healthy for a full season after suiting up for just nine games last season? Is there any chance that Howard can recapture his past All-Star form? If he makes the team, what should his role be?
Share your thoughts in the comments down below!