With Carmelo Anthony recently having his non-guaranteed deal converted to a fully guaranteed one, some have looked at the Los Angeles Lakers and wondered why the same hasn’t happened with Dwight Howard yet.
Without a doubt, Howard has exceeded all expectations in his return to Los Angeles during the 2019-20 NBA season.
His numbers have been solid, but his impact stretches far beyond the box score as he has given the team another big body in the paint and has added to the defensive identity of the Lakers.
Ramona Shelburne of ESPN has an idea as to why the Lakers haven’t yet made Howard’s deal fully guaranteed yet, noting it was the idea of Howard and his representatives to take a non-guaranteed deal in the first place:
“I think with Dwight… it also goes back to why the Lakers signed that contract with him that way in the first place. Dwight asked for that… that was his idea. That wasn’t the Lakers saying, ‘Oh, this is the only way we’ll do it.’ This was Dwight and his agent saying, ‘Yes, we’ll do non-guaranteed just to show you how committed we are to being this kind of player.’”
This comes as a bit of a surprise as it would be normal for a team to offer something like this, but very rare for a player — especially one of Howard’s pedigree — to suggest it for himself. But it just goes to show how important it was for Howard to prove himself to the organization.
In fairness, Howard’s deal will eventually become guaranteed on Jan. 10. The team could do as Portland did with Anthony and convert it over earlier, but it isn’t a necessity in any way nor does it cost Howard any money by waiting for that date.
Howard is such an important part of this Lakers rotation and there is no chance the team would let him go.
The 34-year-old has done exactly what he hoped to do this season in proving his worth and now has a chance at a championship with this team. He was willing to take a risk on himself and now it may pay off in the best way possible.