The NBA is widely viewed as the most entertaining league in all of professional sports and it was no different during the 2019 offseason headlined by the Los Angeles Lakers.
In a landscape-changing move, the Lakers traded for Anthony Davis and numerous All-Star players teamed up to form their own dynamic duos for the 2019-20 NBA season.
“I think he’s ready. He’s ready for this next time around — to do whatever is necessary to help the team be successful. And I think he’ll do it.”
Bryant also gave Howard some much-needed advice:
“The words of wisdom are always to get better. I think a lot of times as professionals, you start the season without the intention of getting better as the season progresses. You always continue to work on your weaknesses as the season progresses, so that would be my advice.”
During the 2012-13 season, Howard was viewed as the next face of the Lakers after Bryant’s eventual retirement. Unfortunately, Howard signed with the Houston Rockets in free agency, Bryant played for three more seasons, and the Lakers were forced to begin their rebuilding process.
While Howard and the Lakers obviously did not end on good terms, it appears playing for four teams in six seasons has humbled him. At 33-years-old now, he understands his role now in what may be his final opportunity in the league.
As Howard was the best available player to replace DeMarcus Cousins and is currently saying all of the right things, the Lakers protected themselves by signing him to a one-year, non-guaranteed deal heading into the new season.
At this stage, Howard just needs to rebound and defend at a high level while being a positive locker room presence. There is no longer any pressure to be the team’s best player and the hope is he does not get in the way of himself again.