Dwight Howard is returning to Los Angeles in a rebounding and rim-protecting role to play alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The signing of the center was a complex process for the Lakers, as Shams Charania of The Athletic explains.
The Grizzlies gave Howard and representatives permission to seek out a deal. Once that happened, the big man met with Lakers assistant coach Jason Kidd, with whom Howard played during USA Basketball activities in 2007. The two have a solid relationship and mutual respect for each other from their time in the NBA together, Charania writes in a full-length piece.
In the past, Howard wanted an expanded role on the teams he’d played for. Now, he would be fine with simply rebounding, defending and staying in his lane. Howard has reportedly made these kind of declarations before with no actions to follow up his words. However, Kidd was convinced that Howard had sincerely shifted his mindset.
Next came getting on the same page with Lakers’ stakeholders, from James and Davis to ownership and front office members, Charania writes. Howard then got the green light for the workout with the team, which went well — “amazing” was what one source told Charania about Howard’s performance.
Here’s more on Howard’s path back to the Lakers:
- Charania hears that Dwight actually arrived at the Lakers’ training facility the day before his scheduled workout, showcasing initiative which impressed the team’s brass.
- Howard was convincing during an emotional meeting with Lakers’ players and staff, explaining how he had hit rock bottom and understood what he needed to do to remain in the league.
- Davis, who was one of the players with whom Howard met, prefers to play alongside a true center during the course of the NBA season, a source tells Charania. Davis is comfortable playing the five during the playoffs but his preference is part of the reason the Lakers were targeting centers to begin with after DeMarcus Cousins went down.
- By multiple accounts, Howard is fully healthy and truly motivated. Charania writes that Howard treated his workout with the Lakers like a post-college player participating in a pre-draft workout.
- Howard doesn’t feel a need to start at the five but he will compete for it along with JaVale McGee. He’s willing to play any amount of minutes the team needs of him with a source close to Howard telling Charania that “Dwight is ready. He can’t wait.”