When Dwight Howard joined the Los Angeles Lakers via trade ahead of the 2012-13 NBA season, he was expected to help the team get back into the NBA championship picture. Unfortunately, Howard’s time with the Lakers proved to be tumultuous, as the Lakers failed to make it past the first round of the playoffs amid speculation that he and fellow superstar Kobe Bryant weren’t getting along on court.
But while this one-year stint with the Lakers seemingly made Howard unpopular among many of the team’s fans, a new report suggests that he wouldn’t mind returning to Los Angeles for the 2019-20 season — may it be for the Lakers or for their inter-city rivals, the Clippers.
Citing a report from Arash Markazi of the Los Angeles Times, SB Nation‘s Silver Screen and Roll wrote on Sunday that the Memphis Grizzlies — who acquired Howard from the Washington Wizards earlier this month — are hoping to trade the 33-year-old center, and could waive him before the start of the 2019-20 season if they can’t find any interested trade partners. Markazi’s report added that the eight-time All-Star “wouldn’t mind” returning to the Lakers or signing with the Clippers if Memphis lets go of him.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I do love L.A.,” Howard said. “Staples Center is going to be rocking this season. When I played there it was rocking every night. The atmosphere is crazy, not just for the Lakers but the Clippers too.”
Howard offered a lot of praise for the Clippers, commending the team for “[deciding] to stand out” and recognizing now-former Clippers stars Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, and Chris Paul and current head coach Doc Rivers for “laying the foundation” for a team that has since become a fixture in the Western Conference playoffs.
— Silver Screen & Roll (@LakersSBN) July 14, 2019
As speculated by Silver Screen and Roll, Howard’s comments suggest that he prefers the Clippers over the Lakers as a potential destination if he gets traded or waived by the Grizzlies. The publication also pointed out that Lakers fans have often seen Howard as a pariah since his troubled 2012-13 stint with the team, and may have a particularly hard time taking him back due to his diminished skill set.
Furthermore, it was noted that Howard might not see much playing time at center in a Lakers frontcourt that includes big men Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, and JaVale McGee.
“Howard hasn’t been able to be a positive for a team for several years now,” the publication added. “It’s for that reason he’s been traded seven times since 2016.”
A former first overall draft pick who entered the NBA out of high school in 2004, Dwight Howard has played for a total of six NBA teams in 15 seasons, with the Grizzlies becoming his seventh team if he remains in Memphis. As shown on his Basketball-Reference page, Howard missed all but nine games in the 2018-19 season due to injuries, averaging 12.8 points and a career-low 9.2 rebounds and 0.4 blocks per game for the Washington Wizards.