According to NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski, Dwight Howard has agreed to a buyout from the Memphis Grizzlies and will sign with the Los Angeles Lakers on a non-guaranteed contract. The contract allows the Lakers to sever ties with Howard if he becomes a locker room distraction. The leash given to Howard is very short, as the Lakers look to become a serious championship contender and add to the legendary Lakers trophy case.
The addition of Howard to the Lakers is a win-win for both sides. This summer, the Lakers signed former all-star center DeMarcus Cousins, who tore his ACL shortly afterwards. The loss of Cousins forced the Lakers into a situation to sign another center. Enter Howard: the rebounding a rim-protecting center who has a chance to prove his place in the NBA once again.
Howard played one season with the Lakers before. If you ask any Lakers fan, the 2012-2013 NBA season was one of the worst in recent memory. Many spectators point to Howard as the sole reason for the Lakers meltdown. Yes, Howard’s total averages were the lowest averages he experienced in a few years, but he still led the league in rebounding at 12.4 per game and was an elite shot blocker, recording 2.4 per game.
Howard wasn’t the main focus of the Lakers offense. That job was given to Kobe Bryant and former two-time MVP Steve Nash. Howard scored the majority of his points from put-back dunks and over-the-top lobs. He only averaged 17.1 points per game, but only attempted 10.7 field goals per game. Howard also played 76 games that season, despite reoccurring back injuries that bothered him throughout the season.
Howard’s heart shouldn’t be questioned this upcoming season. The former Defensive Player of the Year will look to prove his importance to this surging Lakers team. And if he becomes unbearable in the locker room, the Lakers have the flexibility to waive Howard and move-on with their championship aspirations. The return of Lob City is back in full force at Staples Center, except this time it’s the Lakers and not the Clippers.