If the Los Angeles Lakers want another go-round with Dwight Howard, it doesn’t appear the Memphis Grizzlies will be standing in the way.
Rumors have been circulating that the Lakers are taking a hard look at Howard to help fill the void left by DeMarcus Cousins’ likely season-ending ACL tear. Howard is one of the few players who would fit into the team’s salary structure and would be available without having to trade any more assets, and the Lakers have reportedly scheduled a workout with Howard this week.
As ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Twitter, the Grizzlies are more than willing to let Howard explore other opportunities and would work with Howard on a buyout.
As the SB Nation blog Silver Screen and Roll noted, the Grizzlies could see an advantage in letting Howard go to the Lakers.
“Why would the Grizzlies be so happy to do so? Well for one thing, this is Dwight Howard we’re talking about,” the report noted. “For another, they’re fairly set at center. They could also save a bit of cash — always a consideration for small market teams — by cutting Howard, but only if another team actually signs him.”
Signing Howard would likely not be the ideal situation for the Lakers, as the team signed Cousins as part of an attempt at a rapid rebuild and would have planned a big role for him. The ACL tear is now the second major injury for Cousins in just the last year and a half, and ESPN noted that there could be some very serious concerns about his ability to return. As the report noted, there have been only two other players who suffered both a torn ACL and a ruptured Achilles, and neither of them ever returned to the NBA.
Even if he does return to the NBA, DeMarcus Cousins may have missed his window for high earnings. The former NBA All-Star had to sign one-year deals for two consecutive seasons as he tried to prove that he can regain his form. It’s not clear how long the ACL recovery will take, but he is believed to miss the entire upcoming season, with his only chance of returning coming if the Lakers make a deep run in the NBA playoffs.
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) August 18, 2019
Dwight Howard isn’t the only player in the sights for the Los Angeles Lakers. As Wojnarowski also reported, the Lakers are looking at big men Mo Speights and Joakim Noah at the same time they’re giving Howard a workout.