In the days since it was reported that DeMarcus Cousins may have to miss the entire 2019-20 NBA season due to an ACL injury, several names have been suggested as potential replacements for the Los Angeles Lakers center. Former eight-time All-NBA center Dwight Howard, who had a troubled 2012-13 campaign during his one and only season with the Lakers, has been suggested multiple times as a possible option. However, it’s only now that reports are hinting that the team might actually be interested in acquiring the 15-year veteran as a replacement for the injured Cousins.
On Saturday, Sports Illustrated‘s Rohan Nadkarni took to Twitter, where he said he’s heard rumors that the Lakers are “seriously interested” in making a move for Howard. As clarified, the 33-year-old big man is under contract with the Memphis Grizzlies and his contract has not yet been bought out, but since he might not actually play for Memphis, there’s a chance Los Angeles may try to sign him if and when the Grizzlies buy him out.
Currently, the Lakers have only one true center on their roster following Cousins’ injury – JaVale McGee, who started in the middle last season and averaged 12 points, 7.5 rebounds, and two blocks per game, per Basketball-Reference.
Although Dwight Howard was one of the NBA’s top big men for most of the first half of his career, Silver Screen and Roll warned that it might not be a good idea to try to acquire him at this point in time. The publication opined that he’s “simply just not a very good basketball player anymore,” adding that he missed most of the 2018-19 season after undergoing back surgery. His poor plus-minus rating of -5.2 last season was also mentioned as another reason why the Lakers should exercise caution before trying to land him.
Dwight Howard: “I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I do love L.A. Staples Center is going to be rocking this season. When I played there it was rocking every night. The atmosphere is crazy." https://t.co/vZqbU3m67A— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) August 16, 2019
In addition, Silver Screen and Roll brought up another potential red flag – the fact that Howard has been traded a whopping seven times in the last three years. The outlet also made a brief reference to his tumultuous one-season stint with the Lakers, which, as alleged in slightly more detail by SBNation, started a trend where Howard was unable to develop chemistry with top superstars, such as Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles and James Harden during his three-season stint with the Houston Rockets.
After playing just nine games for the Washington Wizards in 2018-19 and averaging 12.8 points and 9.2 rebounds in 25.6 minutes per game, Howard was traded last month to the Grizzlies in exchange for wingman C.J. Miles. For his career, he has averaged 17.4 points, 12.6 rebounds, and two blocks per game while shooting 58.3 percent from the field, as shown on his Basketball-Reference player page.