The Los Angeles Lakers were left in slight panic mode after DeMarcus Cousins tore his ACL, meaning he would likely miss the entire 2019-20 NBA season.
After surveying their options, head coach Frank Vogel and general manager Rob Pelinka decided the best course of action would be to give Dwight Howard a non-guaranteed deal that would pay him approximately $14,500 for every day he can stay on the roster past Oct. 21.
This was obviously met with some backlash from fans as they remember what happened the last time Howard was on the team. However, he was brought in now on a non-guaranteed deal to play a smaller role for a team with many established players above him.
Vogel was very complimentary about where Howard is mentally and is excited about the role that he will play. He also seems confident that Howard is fully on board with that role as well, something that he has struggled to accept for a long time, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“We feel really good about where he’s at as a person,” Vogel said. “He’s gonna serve a different role… it’s gonna be more of a role player type of role as opposed to being the lead and he understands that.”
Vogel isn’t the only one that’s happy about where Howard is emotionally after speaking with him. Howard managed to win over LeBron James and Anthony Davis as well as a contingent of players that included Rajon Rondo and JaVale McGee.
Vogel, James, and Davis are likely the three people that Howard would have to do his best job at impressing just to even be given this chance. Luckily for him, it seems that he did what he was supposed to do in that regard.
It will now be on him to prove that it was more than just talk. He will not start getting paid until the first day of the regular season and it’ll be fairly easy to tell which version of Howard the Lakers are getting.
If it’s a new Howard with a genuinely changed mindset, then there will be no issues and the Lakers might be able to reassert themselves at the top of the league.
If not, Howard will be cut without any repercussions and what happens there is entirely up to him.