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Dwight Howard, Lakers

3 ideal landing spots for Dwight Howard in NBA free agency

Dwight Howard becomes an unrestricted free agent this offseason and he’s expected to garner interest from his current team, the Los Angeles Lakers, and a few others.

Multiple reports have stated that the Golden State Warriors will pursue Howard once the 2020 transaction period begins. Steve Kerr’s group is desperate for a talented big man in the frontcourt.

With the 2020 free agency period slowly approaching, here are three ideal landing spots for Dwight Howard.

1. Re-sign with Lakers

Dwight Howard should play it safe and re-sign with the Lakers. He was productive in his bench role during the 2019-20 regular season and surprisingly wasn’t a locker room cancer.

In 69 games in 2019-20, Howard averaged 7.5 points and 7.3 rebounds while shooting 72.9 percent from the field. He was a great lob threat in the middle and also played high-level defense, as the three-time Defensive Player of the Year blocked 1.1 shots a game in only 18.9 minutes a night.

Howard will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer one day, especially now that he has a title under his belt. The Lakers are the early betting favorite to win the championship in 2020-21 with LeBron James and Anthony Davis leading the way. Since Howard’s second stint with the Lakers went very well, it makes all the sense in the world for general manager Rob Pelinka to re-sign Dwight as the team’s backup center.

It’s incredibly hard to win back-to-back titles in the NBA nowadays. The Lakers would have even higher odds than they already do to win it again next season if the front office re-signs Howard.

2. Leave Lakers to sign with Warriors

If Dwight Howard is looking to be a starter again in the NBA, he could find that role with the Warriors, who will return to the playoffs next season after finishing with the worst record in the league in 2019-20 before games were suspended in March due to COVID-19.

The Warriors could throw out a lethal starting lineup of Stephen Curry, Kelly Oubre Jr., Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green and Dwight Howard should “Superman” leave the Lakers and sign with Golden State. Howard would restore the Warriors’ rebounding and defense prowess and likely feast in the lob game with Curry and Green, two of the best passers in the NBA at their respective position.

Howard is also one of the best screeners and rim rollers in the NBA. Defenders who are chasing Curry around all game are going to feel Howard’s screen on them since he’s such a strong guy. Those constant screens will eventually take a toll on guards and free up Curry for wide-open looks beyond the arc.

3. Stick it to Lakers and sign with Clippers

If Dwight Howard wants to piss the Lakers off should the franchise not offer him a deal he likes in free agency, the former All-Star big man should sign with the rival Clippers.

LAC desperately needs rebounding and defensive help since 2020 Sixth Man of the Year winner Montrezl Harrell got exposed on the defensive end in the Denver Nuggets series and becomes an unrestricted free agent this offseason. The Clippers could lose Harrell since he reportedly got into a shouting match with Paul George during the playoffs at Walt Disney World.

All signs pointed toward the Lakers and Clippers meeting in the 2020 Western Conference in Orlando, Florida. However, the Clippers blew their 3-1 lead to the Nuggets in the second round, becoming the laughingstock of the NBA along the way.

Howard would help the Clippers become a better defensive team and give them a reliable option on offense should new head coach Tyronn Lue want to turn back the clock and feed Howard in the post from time to time. He’s not the Howard we saw dominant the league with the Orlando Magic, but the former No. 1 overall pick is still more of a force on offense and defense than Harrell and Ivica Zubac, who both got bullied by Nuggets star Nikola Jokic in the playoffs.

It was great to see Howard win his first championship with the Lakers given everything he’s gone through since his superstar days with the Magic ended. The eight-time All-Star should get a nice pay raise this offseason after playing well in his role with the Lakers and being a good teammate.

Once the 2020 free agency period starts, it’s going to be interesting to see where Dwight Howard lands. For the first time in a while, he may actually have multiple suitors after him, which surely has to feel good for Dwight since he probably wouldn’t have played in the NBA in 2019-20 had Lakers center DeMarcus Cousins not gotten hurt.