The veteran center, who has bounced around the league, returned to the Lakers on a one-year, non-guaranteed deal after he was waived by the Grizzlies. At 33 years old, coming off an injury-riddled season that saw him appear in just nine games, it’s clear that Howard is no longer the player who once made eight straight All-Star teams.
However, after meeting with the Lakers and striking an emotional chord, the mercurial center could aid L.A.’s quest for a championship, something he wasn’t able to do in his first stint with the purple and gold.
“I’m definitely confident he can the play we’ve laid out for him. He’s coming to the Lakers at a very different time in his career,” new Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said on Access SportsNet (Twitter link). “[The] first time he was here, he was on top of the NBA mountain and was a bonafide superstar. Things have changed, he’s later in his career now, he’s a different person [and] has a different mindset.”
Over the last four seasons, the two-time Defensive Player of the Year has suited up for four different teams (Rockets, Hawks, Hornets and Wizards). That does not include him being waived by both the Nets and Grizzlies following trades.
As Vogel mentioned, Howard is no longer the player who averaged 22.1 PPG and 14.1 RPG while anchoring the Magic’s defense. However, Vogel is confident that Howard can adjust to being a role player who helps the organization reach its ultimate goal.
“We feel really good about where he’s at as a person,” Vogel said. “He’s gonna serve a different role. It’s gonna be more of a role player type of role as opposed to being the lead and he understands that.”