Dwight Howard may be one step closer to going for round two with the Los Angeles Lakers.
As ESPN reported on Sunday night, the Memphis Grizzlies granted Dwight Howard’s agent permission to speak with other teams interested in landing the big man. Reports had indicated that the Lakers were looking at Howard as a potential replacement for DeMarcus Cousins, who tore his ACL while going through offseason workouts in Las Vegas and will likely miss the entire 2019-20 season.
The injury to Cousins leaves a giant hole in the Lakers frontcourt, with a question mark to go beside newly acquired Anthony Davis. As ESPN noted, the Lakers are immediately looking at contingency plans that could include dropping Cousins off the roster entirely. The report noted that the Lakers have 14 players under guaranteed contract and are likely planning to avoid guaranteeing a 15th player so they are free to explore buyout candidates at the trade deadline.
“If the Lakers want to stick to that plan, they’d need to waive Cousins to replace him with another center to complement JaVale McGee and Anthony Davis sliding over from power forward,” the report noted.
The Lakers have yet to give any public indication as to what they will do to replace Cousins, who was on his second straight one-year deal as he tries to prove that he can fully regain his All-Star form after a series of devastating injuries that also includes a torn Achilles.
— CBS Sports NBA (@CBSSportsNBA) August 18, 2019
As The Inquisitr previously noted, Kenneth Faried was seen as a potential option for the Lakers along with the potential of signing Howard for a second stint with the team.
The Lakers will likely be under some significant pressure to compete after a disappointing start to the LeBron James era. They will have plenty of competition in an increasingly competitive Western Conference. As of now, the Golden State Warriors are facing challenges for conference supremacy from the Los Angeles Clippers, who just added Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, and the Houston Rockets, who recently made a trade for Russell Westbrook.
There are reportedly some other teams interested in Howard, though it is not clear how serious any of them might be.
It’s also not clear how serious the Los Angeles Lakers might be at acquiring Dwight Howard. The report from ESPN characterized the team’s interest at this point as doing their due diligence on a potential big man to fill in for Cousins.