When the Los Angeles Lakers signed Dwight Howard in August, it was with the understanding that Howard would have to prove himself on and off the court. At the time, the Lakers had recently lost newly signed DeMarcus Cousins to a torn ACL injury. They needed another center on the roster, as JaVale McGee was really the only other true center. They gave Howard a 100% non-guaranteed contract, giving the Lakers the opportunity to get out of the deal at any point they wanted if the partnership in the 2019-20 season went anywhere near as bad as the partnership between the two in the 2012-13 season.
It’s apparently gone well enough according to the Lakers, as it’s being reported that they have officially guaranteed the remainder of his contract prior to the January 10th deadline.
New story: Dwight Howard’s contract will become fully guaranteed Tuesday, sources tell ESPN, a mere formality in his improbable, yet incredible comeback season with the Lakers https://t.co/Osucgh0TM2
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) January 7, 2020
Prior to that, Howard could have been let go at any point by the team, with no guarantee of payment following being cut. Bobby Marks of ESPN explains below on the day that Howard was signed.
The contract that Dwight Howard will sign in LAL is called a “summer contract” because it has $0 salary protection (comparable to Anthony Bennett in Houston). Howard will earn $14,490 for every day he is on the roster. The per day clock will start on Oct. 21.
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) August 26, 2019
Now, Dwight Howard is guaranteed his full 1-year/$2.56M contract, and he deserves it. He has looked absolutely rejuvenated this year compared to his most recent stints with the Washington Wizards, Charlotte Hornets, and Atlanta Hawks. Part of that may be due to his lessened role with the Lakers, but either way, he looks great. More importantly, probably, Howard hasn’t been a distraction or problem for the team’s chemistry, which couldn’t be said about his most recent appearances.
On the year, Howard is averaging 7.1 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks per game while playing 19.5 minutes per game. He even appeared on the NBA All-Star voting first returns, although that may be mostly attributed to his current popularity amongst Lakers fans.
Speaking of All-Star Weekend, the news of Howard’s contract being guaranteed follows the report about Howard accepting an invite to return to the NBA All-Star Dunk Contest, where “Superman” famously won in 2008.