Big man Dwight Howard has had three separate stints with the Los Angeles Lakers, and each one had a very distinct flavor.
In his first stint, which came during the 2012-13 season, he put up strong numbers, but he griped about not getting enough touches in the post. He ended up leaving during the summer of 2013 amidst a strained relationship with Kobe Bryant.
After having trouble getting along with other stars, including James Harden, Howard returned to L.A. for the 2019-20 season. It looked like the final shot for the beleaguered center to fix his reputation, let alone win an NBA championship.
He did both with the Lakers that season, as he accepted an embraced and drastically reduced role off the bench.
Howard did one more tour with the Purple and Gold during the 2021-22 campaign, but it looked like his game had slipped by then, and he spent this past season playing pro ball in Taiwan.
During an exclusive interview with Complex, the future Hall of Famer said he still feels he can play serviceable basketball at the NBA level.
“I know I can provide a team with 25 minutes of dominant basketball. And that’s not even scoring, that’s just playing defense, locking people up, protecting the paint, rebounding, and finishing around the basket. I’ve had my fun in the game. I just want to go out like a champ like I’m supposed to.”
He also listed five teams he would like to play for, and the Lakers were one of them.
“Okay, you got Miami Heat. You got obviously, the Lakers. The Warriors. The Kings. But the Kings, I would say the Kings got a couple centers so they probably wouldn’t. But the Kings. The Hawks. I’m from Atlanta, go back home with the Hawks.”
Howard even had some interesting things to say about the allure of suiting up for the Purple and Gold yet again.
“It’s been crazy. It’s been crazy, but it’s just for some reason we just clicked. I don’t know, you could have a little girlfriend or whatever and it’s just, y’all done been together, y’all done broke up. You done tried other girlfriends but it’s just some type of connection y’all got.
“That’s how we feel about the Lakers. Man, it’s just something that we got this connection. I don’t know. It got to work. It got to work. But I do love the Lakers, man. We had the championship run there and I wish we would’ve had a chance to keep going because that was the squad right there. We had everything. We had everything.”
It is not clear if Howard, who is 37 years of age, can still defend and rebound consistently and at a high enough level to attract another NBA gig, or if the Lakers would have interest in bringing him back.
However, they do need a center that can provide about 15-20 minutes per game of physical, positional defense, boxing out and rebounding.
Source: Yahoo Sports