The last few years have been a whirlwind for Dwight Howard. He’s headed toward playing on his fifth team in five years — and seventh in nine years — after the Washington Wizards traded him to the Memphis Grizzlies.
It seems increasingly likely that the Grizzlies will have to release him instead of finding a trade partner, which could again give Howard the choice of his new home. And if Howard had his druthers, he’d rejoin an old team.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Howard said he’d be open to returning to the Los Angeles Lakers.
“I don’t know what's going to happen, but I do love L.A.,” Howard said. “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.”
Howard's single season with the Lakers in 2012-13 was disastrous, as he saw significant decreases in points and rebounds, while the Lakers finished a disappointing 45-37. He was a 26-year-old coming off six straight All-Star appearances but did not seem fit for L.A.’s bright lights.
After leaving for the Houston Rockets, Howard has bounced around and been in a constant decline. He spent single seasons with the Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets and Wizards with none wanting to keep him around.
A second stint in L.A. would be far different with shifted expectations. Anthony Davis is filling the role he once had as the Lakers’ star big man, and Howard would only provide depth for the second unit. Even with the Clippers, he wouldn’t expect to be a major contributor.
Who wouldn’t want to play for the Lakers or Clippers?
Of course, just about any veteran on their last legs in the league would want to play in Los Angeles. No teams have better title odds than the Clippers and Lakers.
Just about any former star would line up to play for them. Amar’e Stoudemire and Monta Ellis, who haven’t been in the league since 2016 and 2017, respectively, are both attempting comebacks with eyes on the Lakers.
Since both Los Angeles teams are dedicating so much of their cap to their two stars, they have been looking to fill out their roster with veterans willing to take pennies. But the Lakers already found DeMarcus Cousins, Jared Dudley, Troy Daniels and JaVale McGee.
Landing back in L.A. seems like an extreme long-shot, although it’s not out of the question for him to latch onto the second unit of a contender somewhere. It just seems he’s far more likely to complete his sweep of the Southeast division than receive a second chance with the Lakers.
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