by Chris Camello (@Chris_Camello)
When Dwight Howard walked off the floor in an ejection during Game 3 of the 2013 first round playoff series against the San Antonio Spurs, many fans thought that was the last time they would see Howard in a Lakers uniform.
Two months after that shameful exit, Howard spurned the Lakers in free agency leaving $30 million on the table to join the Houston Rockets. His exit from Los Angeles was rough to say the least with one negative storyline after another. In an unexpected turn of events, the Lakers were in the market for another big man after recently signed center DeMarcus Cousins tore his ACL during a pickup game this summer.
After a private workout and signing a non-guaranteed contract, Howard was surprisingly back with the Lakers, under a new regime.
He showed he could still give them exactly what they need: a seven-footer that rebounds, block shots, defends, and finishes at the rim.
Let’s not forget Howard can still play. He had a rare 30-30 game (30 points, 30 rebounds) for the Charlotte Hornets in 2018, his last productive season in which he averaged 16 points, 12 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks through 81 games.
With Howard on board along with fellow center JaVale McGee, the Lakers will be able to keep Anthony Davis at his preferred position of power forward, unless they go small late in games.
Opponents will have a hard time scoring in the paint with those three coming over to block or alter shots.
With Howard on a non-guaranteed deal, the Lakers know they could cut him if they notice any attitude problems or causing tension in the locker room.
It’s a low-risk, high reward signing for L.A. If Howard can keep his ego in check, prove he’s focused on winning, and embraces his role, he could be a big X-factor in his second go-around with the Lakers, one that hopefully has a positive ending.