The rumored interest that the Los Angeles Lakers had in Dwight Howard turned into something much more on Friday afternoon. Reports indicated that the team was considering him as a potential DeMarcus Cousins replacement came to fruition when the two sides reportedly agreed to a non-guaranteed contract that will bring Howard back to Los Angeles.
Howard has had an extremely bizarre career, oftentimes being accused of never being able to get out of his own way. He forced a trade from Orlando, where he was at the center of one of the best franchises in the league, to the Lakers, and since then, he’s taken the floor for five teams in seven seasons. Even when Howard has produced on the court, it’s rarely been enough.
Now, he gets what might end up being his last shot suiting up for a team with championship aspirations. And according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Lakers believe that Howard — who apparently showed up looking great to his workout with the team — has been “humbled” by the league.
Howard came to meet Lakers after dropping 25 pounds; showed his back was healthy. Lakers want him to protect rim/rebound in limited role. There was sense Howard realized he hit "rock bottom" and had been humbled. Still they'll judge him on actions, not words. He's been warned.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 23, 2019
This was confirmed by Shams Charania in a piece for The Athletic, which revealed that Howard made one hell of a pitch to some members of the front office, along with Anthony Davis, Rajon Rondo, and JaVale McGee.
League sources said Howard had a convincing and emotional meeting with the players and Lakers officials, explaining how he had reached rock bottom a season ago and needed to find a new mindset in his life. On and off the floor. He was not the teammate he needed to be in playing for three teams in the past three years. He did not take the game seriously enough, he did not understand what was needed to turn the corner.
It’s really easy to get jokes off at the expense of Howard considering how the last few years of his career have gone, but there is something almost tragic about the way such a promising career has never quite reached its potential following his divorce from the Magic. Stories of Howard understanding the gravity of his current situation seem to pop up every offseason, so it’s perfectly fair to be skeptical that this time is when everything falls into place. But if it does, then maybe Howard can reinvent himself and somewhat change the narrative around him in the final chapter of his NBA career.