Six years after leaving the Lakers, Dwight Howard may be about to return, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. L.A. is expected to seek permission to talk to the veteran center, and there is reportedly “mutual interest” in a reunion.
Howard, 33, is currently with the Grizzlies after being traded there in early July in exchange for C.J. Miles. However, the move was regarded as a salary dump for Memphis, and Howard isn’t expected to play for the franchise. Buyout talks are expected soon on his $5.6MM contract for the upcoming season.
An eight-time All-Star who was once considered one of the league’s best centers, Howard has turned into a journeyman since reaching his 30s. He has played for four teams in the past four years and was briefly the property of the Nets last summer. Injuries limited him to nine games last season, but he was still productive in 2017/18, averaging 16.6 points and 12.5 rebounds per night with the Hornets.
The Lakers suddenly find themselves short-handed at center after this week’s ACL injury to DeMarcus Cousins, who signed with the team last month. L.A. was hoping to avoid using Anthony Davis in the middle, but JaVale McGee is the only other currently option on the roster.
Still, the shift toward Howard is somewhat surprising, given his acrimonious history with the team. Howard spent just one year in L.A. after being traded there in 2012, signing with the Rockets the following summer. Kobe Bryant famously called him “soft” at the time and suggested that Howard wasn’t willing to learn how to win.
In an interview last month with Kristine Leahy of FS1 (video link), Howard appears to have come to terms with those comments. “Everybody reaches different levels of maturity at different times,” he said. “I think at that time I was ignorant to the level that he was at. So I appreciate you, Kobe. Thank you for saying I was soft. I didn’t realize what you meant until now.”