Dwight Howard was recently traded by the Washington Wizards to the Memphis Grizzlies. The consensus around the league is that he will either be traded or waived. If the former happens, the 33-year-old big man recently said he’s open to returning to the Los Angeles Lakers.
When Howard was traded to the Lakers back in 2012, he put up stellar numbers, finishing the season with averages of 17.1 points, 12.4 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks in 76 games. The following year, the former All-Star and Defensive Player of the Year decided to leave the Purple and Gold to join the Houston Rockets. Although his time with the Purple and Gold was short-lived, he still had a great run.
Seven years later, an opportunity to reunite with Howard is on the table for Los Angeles. The Lakers, however, are reportedly not interested in bringing him back. Make no mistake about it, he can still put up decent numbers. If it wasn’t for recent injuries, there’s no doubt that he would’ve had a great season with the Wizards. He can still average a double-double, which is what he’s done in all but one of his 14 seasons in the NBA.
Given that fact, should the Lakers re-consider their stand on signing Howard?
The Lakers are already stacked at the center position at the moment. They have DeMarcus Cousins and JaVale McGee, who are expected to eat up all the minutes at the five next season. Moreover, Anthony Davis is expected to play that position in certain situations. Adding Howard to the mix would make it difficult for the Lakers to give all these guys minutes.
In addition, the Lakers are already one injury away from having another disappointing season. Adding Howard, who only played nine games last season, wouldn’t help. One can argue that he’s been relatively healthy since leaving the Lakers, playing in at least 68 games in his last five seasons (last season not included), but his recent injury issues should be a cause for concern for any team that’s considering signing him.
Howard has also shown that he’s not up to the challenge of playing for the Lakers, and when push comes to shove, he folded. He was supposed to be the team’s franchise player, but when he was given the chance to step up, he chose to walk away.
Of course, playing with LeBron James and Anthony Davis would lessen the pressure for Howard if the Lakers ultimately decide to bring him back. The expectations from him will be minimal, so he will be able to focus on just playing basketball. Given the fact that he already spurned the franchise once, though, there is little to no doubt that signing him for next season wouldn’t be in their best interest.
Howard has made a name for himself as one of the best centers to ever play the game of basketball. He’s a double-double machine and a defensive stalwart when healthy. He can be a great addition to any team, including the Lakers. Still, his injuries woes and lack of winning mentality is why he’s bounced around the league the last few years.
It wouldn’t be a surprise for him to find a new home soon, but him wearing a Lakers jersey once again is highly unlikely.