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Dwight Howard, Lakers

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Dwight Howard would make the ultimate redemption story by going to the Lakers

Dwight Howard would make the ultimate redemption story by going to the Lakers

With DeMarcus Cousins suffering an ACL injury, a roster spot suddenly opened up for the Los Angeles Lakers.

With JaVale McGee as the only true center on the team right now, the Purple and Gold will most probably look for someone who can provide a significant amount of production at the five. However, most of the top and mid-tier free agents have already been taken, so you have to wonder, whom should the Lakers sign?

We can give you a name you might not like.

Dwight Howard.

Yes, the guy who decided to leave the team back in 2012. The guy who, according to most people, can’t handle the pressure of being the man in Los Angeles. The guy Laker legend Kobe Bryant once called soft.

Yes, that guy.

It’s been seven years since Dwight Howard left the Lakers, and at this point in his career, the ego he once had, the immaturity, the lack of assertiveness, are probably all gone. Dwight just wants to win, and if I’m general manager Rob Pelinka, I’d give him a shot.

Dwight Howard played nine games for the Washington Wizards last season, but he averaged 12.8 points and 9.2 rebounds in 25.6 minutes per game. Those may be a long way from his career averages (17.4 points and 12.6 rebounds), but they are still respectable totals.

Now, if you’ll look at his recent injuries, you can argue that signing him isn’t an ideal option for the Lakers. However, he seems to be 100 percent healthy, and he has proven to be durable for the majority of his career. Dwight Howard appeared in fewer than 71 games only once during his first 14 years in the league. That includes his 81 games with the Charlotte Hornets two seasons ago.

Howard already said that he’s open to returning to the Lakers. Right now, he’s the best available center on the market. It wouldn’t be wise for L.A. to pass on the opportunity to bring him back.

If Dwight Howard says he has matured since leaving the team, why not allow him to prove himself? Invite him to training camp, and if he disappoints, move on. Then again, Howard has a lot to prove. He wants to remind the NBA he’s still one of its most reliable bigs, so he’ll be extremely motivated to bounce back.

The Lakers once saw Howard as the potential face of the franchise, and while that is no longer the case, he can still redeem himself to the city, the team, and its fans. He still has a lot left in his tank, and if he gives everything he has next season, he might help L.A. win a championship.

Offensively, Howard can still be very effective in the post. He’s still stronger than most bigs in the league. Plus, he’s still very capable of catching lob passes from LeBron James and Rajon Rondo, and he will have a great pick and roll game with those two.

Howard is no longer the same defensive beast he once was, but he can still do damage on that end of the floor. He can still block and alter shots consistently, which will help the Lakers in a big way, especially since they haven’t been a good defensive team over the past couple of seasons.

Yes, one of the main reasons why Howard is still not signed by any team is his attitude. Over the past several years, there have been stretches when he has shown he can still dominate the NBA. Then in the next couple of games, you’ll see him act lethargically for no apparent reason.  If Dwight can assure the Lakers he will be 100 percent committed to the team, the team should sign him.

Howard wants to redeem himself. Wouldn’t it be great to see him turn his career around with the Purple and Gold? It would be the perfect comeback story that would become more meaningful if he can help LeBron and AD lead the Lakers to a championship.

It would be the perfect ending to the Lakers chapter of his NBA story.

Everybody loves a happy ending.