Dwight Howard’s agent Charles Briscoe told Shams Charania of the Athletic and Stadium that the big man has finalized a buyout with the Memphis Grizzlies and plans to sign a deal with the Los Angeles Lakers the moment he clears waivers.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN notes that the Howard deal will be a non-guaranteed contract that the Lakers are proceeding “with caution.”
More from Woj:
“Howard had several meetings with Lakers officials, and they’ll give him a chance to show he’s made changes in how he conducts himself. Lakers players were involved in process.”
Earlier this summer , Howard spoke of his desire to play in L.A., either for the Clippers of the Lakers. He said this to Arash Markazi of the Los Angeles Times in July:
“I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I do love L.A. Staples Center is going to be rocking this season. When I played there it was rocking every night. The atmosphere is crazy, not just for the Lakers but the Clippers too. I just think all the hard work they’ve put in is paying off now. They’ve always been viewed as the Lakers’ little brother, but they decided to stand out and be different and you have to thank guys like Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and Chris Paul for laying the foundation for this team, and then what Doc [Rivers] has done has been great. This is just all that hard work paying off.”
That seemed like a pipe dream (no pun intended) for Howard, however that door opened when DeMarcus Cousins suffered his unfortunate ACL injury earlier in August while working out. With Anthony Davis’ abhorrence to play the center position , the Lakers suddenly had a major need at the five-spot.
Names such as Joakim Noah, Marcin Gortat and Kenneth Faried were ( and still are) available but the Lakers decided that Howard would be their best choice. He gets killed for his previous stint in the purple and gold but any one with two working eyes and at least that many brain cells could see that he was nowhere near 100% and, in actuality, probably should not have been on the court. Despite that, he still averaged 17.1 points and 12.4 rebounds, which led the league. Even his last season of note , the 2017-18 season with the Hornets, Howard averaged 16.6 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. If Howard is healthy, he could address the Lakers issues in the middle.