The Los Angeles Lakers’ free-agent signing of veteran center Dwight Howard brought back greater returns than anyone could have predicted. Completely buying into his role as a defender and rebounder off the bench, Howard has experienced an outstanding comeback season and been a key member of the Lakers rotation.
With the league set to return at the end of July, the Lakers should be soon coming together to resume their push towards winning an NBA championship. But whether Howard will be a part of that now seems to be a major question.
He has been one of the players to speak up against returning to play and supporting Kyrie Irving which would seem to suggest that Howard wouldn’t be coming back. However, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN, Howard’s agent says that his hasn’t made a decision on returning as he isn’t thinking about basketball:
Howard’s agent, Charles Briscoe, told ESPN on Sunday that his client hasn’t made a decision about playing basketball again this season because basketball is the furthest thing from his mind at this moment.
“The statement was about social injustice and racism,” Briscoe said. “Yet everybody is still talking about whether basketball should be played. He isn’t saying that basketball shouldn’t be. He’s just saying that you should not be taking attention away from what’s going on in the country to talk about basketball. Basketball is just a sport, at the end of the day. But what’s going on with people dying in the streets, that’s something real. That statement, it had nothing to do with sports. It had everything to do with racism and social injustice.”
It is difficult to fault Howard for his thought process the fight off the court is something that affects himself and his family. Howard isn’t just thinking about himself, but creating a better life for his children and that is more important than anything else.
The question is how much coming back and finishing the season could stand to help the cause Howard is so passionate about. An NBA return would provide Howard and the rest of the league a massive platform to continue to push their points about the changes they want to see.
As far as the Lakers on the court, being without Howard would be a tough loss if that were to be his decision. His size and strength on the block has been a major positive for the team and they don’t have anyone to replace that.
While it would be great to have Howard with the team to finish off this journey, the big man will do what he feels is best for himself and those closest to him.