NBA Rumors: Signing Dwight Howard To Veteran Minimum Deal ‘Worthwhile Gamble’ For L.A. Lakers, Says NBA Exec

Dwight Howard #12 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts after being fouled against the San Antonio Spurs during Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on April 24, 2013 in San Antonio, Texas.
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Dwight Howard’s lone season wearing the Purple and Gold may have been filled with drama, frustrations and disappointments, but the eight-time NBA All-Star is not closing his doors to the possibility of playing for the Los Angeles Lakers again. When the 2019 NBA offseason started, Howard expressed his desire to return to Los Angeles to join either the Lakers or the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers may no longer have room to accommodate Howard, but after DeMarcus Cousins recently suffered an ACL injury, the Lakers could open up a roster spot to make their reunion with “Superman” possible this summer.

On Twitter, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that the Memphis Grizzlies have given the Lakers permission to speak to Dwight Howard. Charania also revealed that there is a “mutual interest” between Howard and the Lakers regarding a potential reunion. Though he spent most of the 2018-19 NBA season dealing with injuries, an anonymous NBA executive who spoke to Frank Urbina of HoopsHype believes that signing Howard to a veteran minimum deal would be a “worthwhile gamble” for the Lakers.

“Personal baggage aside, I would sign him,” the league executive said. “He’s clearly the best player available if he’s healthy. We’ve heard the same song from him for years [as far as changing]. But for the minimum? Why not? If it doesn’t work, they move on.”

The second NBA executive asked by HoopsHype shared the same sentiment, saying that if Dwight Howard would struggle to make himself fit alongside Anthony Davis and LeBron James in Los Angeles, the Lakers could easily get rid of him by buying out his contract.

“I think it’s worth the risk for them. If it doesn’t work out, they can cut bait.”

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At the age of 33, no one can deny that Dwight Howard is already in the twilight years of his NBA career. However, Howard still has lots of gas left in his tank and could still be a reliable contributor to an NBA team that needs a frontcourt boost. Though he is not capable of stretching the floor like DeMarcus Cousins, Howard could give the Lakers a dominant presence under the basket as he is also an incredible rebounder and rim protector.

In the 2017-18 NBA season where he played 81 games with the Charlotte Hornets, Dwight Howard posted incredible numbers, averaging 16.6 points, 12.5 rebounds and 1.6 blocks while shooting 55.5 percent from the field. If he can replicate those numbers and manage to remain fit, Howard will undeniably be a huge help for the Lakers, especially with their goal to fully dominate the Western Conference and win the NBA championship title in the 2019-20 NBA season.