Although it appears that Dwight Howard is hoping to return to the Los Angeles Lakers after helping the team to its 17th NBA championship at this year’s Finals, the latest rumors suggest there are some other teams who might show interest in him during the upcoming free agency period, including the Golden State Warriors.
On Thursday, SB Nation‘s Silver Screen and Roll cited a subscriber-only report from The Athletic‘s Shams Charania, which suggested that same day that Howard and the Lakers have “mutual interest” in a new deal. However, the Warriors were also mentioned as one of the “contenders” who are likely to make an attempt at signing the former three-time Defensive Player of the Year.
As recalled by Silver Screen and Roll, Howard’s “redemption arc” with the Lakers started in the summer of 2019 when he signed a non-guaranteed contract with the organization, one that was only fully guaranteed midway through the 2019-20 season. The publication observed that the veteran center was able to prove he could play quality minutes for a championship contender while also accepting every role he was given.
As shown on his Basketball-Reference player page, Howard averaged career-lows of 7.5 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 18.9 minutes per game for the Lakers in the 2019-20 campaign, starting just two out of the 69 games he played in. He did, however, register a 72.9 shooting percentage from the field in regular-season play — his highest clip in 16 NBA seasons. He also started in the first five games of the Finals after seeing little action in Los Angeles’ semifinal series against the Houston Rockets.
According to Silver Screen and Roll, Howard’s potential playing time in the 2020-21 season might be the factor that would decide whether he will re-sign with the Lakers or join the Warriors or any other club who might want to sign him as an unrestricted free agent. Although Los Angeles might likely use its mid-level or bi-annual exception to sign Howard for more than the veteran’s minimum, the outlet suggested he might be swayed toward signing with Golden State if he is promised a starting role.
This isn’t the first time rumors have pointed to Howard moving to the Warriors — a team that finished with the NBA’s worst record in 2019-20 but is expected to return to contention behind a healthy Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. In July, a report suggested that it would be “interesting” if the former No. 1 overall draft pick signed a free-agent deal with Golden State and ended up playing on a team that could offer him the “most spacing” he’s ever had in his career.