It seems like a lifetime ago when Dwight Howard was being booed by Los Angeles Lakers fans after his unceremonious exit from the franchise.
However, Howard came back for a second stint with the Lakers and turned those boos into cheers as he embraced a role off the bench that he excelled in. The veteran center did what was asked of him and he eventually played a large role in helping Los Angeles capture its 17th NBA Championship.
After spending a year with the Philadelphia 76ers, Howard came back to the Lakers for the third time, but the most recent go-around did not go the way most people expected as they missed the postseason entirely. Despite the lack of success, the big man emphasized how much he loves playing for the Purple and Gold and expressed his desire to come back.
“Why do I want to leave? I want to be cemented somewhere. I love being here. I love the fans. I have a good time,” Howard said during his exit interview. “I really want an opportunity where I can really go out with a bang (laughs). I’ve only got a couple years left, so I want an opportunity where I can go out and show my skills and talent and do it in the right way, but also win. I feel like I deserve it.”
Even in the twilight of his career, Howard has shown he can be a useful player on most nights. Although he was used sparingly during the 2021-22 campaign, Howard remained a positive force on the roster and in the locker room, and those kinds of qualities make him a worthy add for next year.
Howard’s willingness to hold himself accountable was a breath of fresh air amidst a struggle of a season for the Lakers and it would be great to see the organization reward him with another deal. Things also work out in his favor given the team’s cap sheet as they will be forced to sign mostly minimum contract players to round out the roster.
There is no telling what direction the front office will go in trying to improve the team next year, but Howard has earned his keep several times over.
Stanley Johnson understands future with Lakers is up to front office
Like Howard, Stanley Johnson is another player who hopes to be donning Purple and Gold during the 2022-23 season.
Johnson has a team option for next season and the young forward understands his future with the team will be entirely up to the front office.
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