The Los Angeles Lakers’ title run this season was filled with contributions from unlikely sources. Among those at the top of the list was Dwight Howard, a once superstar big man who had become a joke in the NBA due to the numerous poor stints with different teams since leaving the Lakers after one ill-fated season in 2013.
Howard was signed by the Lakers last summer once DeMarcus Cousins suffered a season-ending injury. Despite career-low expectations, Howard managed to become a crucial part of the Lakers’ plan and ultimately won his first championship.
As the dust settles, Howard’s free agency will become the topic of discussion. The big man will hit the open market once free agency begins and will surely believe that he could get one last bigger deal after the season he just had. The Lakers had signed him to a minimum deal.
As it stands, Howard is reportedly interested in staying in Los Angeles to run it back and the Lakers have a similar interest in bringing back the center, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
That doesn’t mean the big man won’t have suitors trying to lure him away. Charania lists the Golden State Warriors as a potential option if Howard and the Lakers can’t come to an agreement.
Bringing back Dwight Howard may prove to be difficult for the Lakers. They will be capped out and only have exceptions to use to sign players they don’t have the Bird Rights to. That means if Howard wants more than his veteran minimum, the Lakers would have to sacrifice some of the money they can spend to improve the team and fill bigger needs on the roster. With JaVale McGee still on the roster and Cousins potentially looming as a re-acquisition, it’s safe to wonder how much the team is willing to spend on someone who plays the position that Anthony Davis will spend the majority of time at in the playoffs.
Regardless of how free agency goes, Howard has more than changed his reputation in LA and both parties will cherish the season they had together.