The Los Angeles Lakers — along with the entire NBA — have begun to increase activities as players are back in town and practice facilities can now have up to four people working out at a time.
Prior to the team heading to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, players like Avery Bradley and Dwight Howard needed to decide whether or not they would be part of the NBA season resuming. Bradley has already said he will be with the Lakers, while players like Danny Green and LeBron James have openly said they’ll be playing.
Howard is believed to be the only member of the Lakers roster who is still weighing a decision. The NBA initially set a deadline for Wednesday, but most teams reportedly consider July 1 as the true date a decision is required by.
Howard has been in communication with Green, who discussed some of the challenges his teammate is facing and made it clear the Lakers support any decision that’s made, via the Green via “Inside the Green Room” podcast:
“I’m playing. I think everybody knows that I’m playing. It’s no secret out there. But the rest of our roster, we’re not sure everybody is going to be there. But if had to guess, I would say at least 90, 95% of us on our roster are going to play and going to go. There is a 5-10% chance, we don’t know, that the other guys might not show up.
“I talked to a couple guys this week. Got a chance to talk to Dwight Howard, I talked to Avery Bradley earlier in the week but I’ve been trying to get ahold of him this past weekend and haven’t been able to as of late. So I don’t know where he’s at, but I talked to Dwight and there’s just some things that are bigger than basketball. You never know what’s going on with guys’ families. And just hearing the background of what Dwight is going through. I understood fully. Obviously, he wouldn’t do it for protests, but there is more than one issue, more than one scenario, more than one thing that’s going on in his life besides the protests.
“With the loss of his baby mother, but there’s a lot of other things that’s going on behind the scenes that people don’t know about, and I understood. I said, ‘Obviously we need you man, we love you like a brother, you’re family. We want you to be a part of this. But regardless of what your decision is, we know it’s bigger than basketball and that there are things that are more important than actually doing this. So if you need to be with your family and stuff, we support it regardless.’
“And he said, ‘Yeah, I’m all for it. I never said I wouldn’t play, but there’s just a lot going on.’ So he’s kind of making a decision. We have a few days left. I think he’ll be with us, and if not, once again, he’s still our brother, we still support him.”
From what Green said in Monday’s episode, it seems like the team has remained very well connected throughout this process. Because of this, the team absolutely will be supportive of whatever decision Howard makes.
Howard has been through a lot with his family since the NBA’s hiatus began, and put off returning to L.A. for quite a while. Because of this, it would not be surprising to see him opt out of the season and remain at home.
However, Howard is a very important piece for the Lakers, and everyone on the team is aware of that. Perhaps that will be enough to convince Howard to join the team in Orlando despite all that’s going on at home.
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