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Lakers agree to deals with Trevor Ariza, Dwight Howard, Wayne Ellington

dwight howard trevor ariza wayne ellington

The Los Angeles Lakers opened their free agency period by signing three familiar faces: Dwight Howard, Trevor Ariza, and Wayne Ellington.

Ariza won a championship with L.A. in 2008-09, while Howard helped the Lakers to a title in 2019-20. He also spent one ill-fated season with the franchise alongside Kobe Bryant in 2012-13. Ellington, a sharpshooter, played for the Lakers in 2014-15.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was the first to report the Ariza move. It had been all quiet on the LakeShow front almost two hours into 2021 NBA free agency, prior to the slew of signings.

Minutes later, Yahoo’s Chris Haynes broke the Ellington news:

Next, Los Angeles completed the trifecta with the Howard deal. They gave this scoop to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

In 12 minutes, three veterans were back in purple-and-gold.

None of the deals should come as a surprise. In fact, all three players were reported to have an interest in a return to L.A. Ariza — like Andre Drummond, Buddy Hield, and many others — is a former client of Pelinka’s.

On the court, all three make a ton of sense. The Lakers need long wing defenders, shooting, and rim protection/running, and each player checks one of those boxes, respectively. Ariza, at 36, can still knock down open threes, while Ellington, 33, is coming off the most productive three-point shooting season of his career with the Detroit Pistons (42.2%).

Howard, 35, was a vital ingredient to the 2019-20 team, and enthusiastically embraced a diminished role with limited responsibilities. He averaged 7.0 points and 8.4 rebounds in 17.3 minutes per game for the Philadelphia 76ers last season.

The big unknown, at the moment, is the details of the contracts, which could be essential to the Lakers’ flexibility going forward. Because of their clogged cap sheet following the Russell Westbrook trade, Los Angeles needs to fill out their roster with re-signings, the $5.9 taxpayer mid-level, and veteran minimums.

We’ll update this post when that information becomes available.