The Los Angeles Lakers officially announced the signing of twice-former-Laker Dwight Howard to contract, their first finalized addition of the 2021 offseason. Howard was one of the first players to come to a reported agreement with the team, with his deal being announced on the first day of free agency.
Although the terms were not released, it is believed to be a one-year, veteran’s minimum contract.
Howard’s second stint with the Lakers was far more successful than his first, playing a pivotal reserve role in the team’s 2020 championship run. After there were rumors that he would re-sign with the team for the 2020-21 season, he ultimately ended up as Joel Embiid’s backup with the Philadelphia 76ers while the Lakers signed Montrezl Harrell and Marc Gasol.
After Howard’s lone season with the 76ers — and the Lakers’ trade of Harrell to the Washington Wizards — all signs pointed to a reunion between him and the Lakers. L.A. sorely missed his paint presence and lob-catching ability during their injury-laden 2020-21 campaign.
Howard missed his time with the Lakers as well. He spoke about what drove him back to L.A.
“What brought me back to the Lakers? Love. Love for the game. Love for this city, love for the team and just the opportunity to win,” Howard said in his introductory press conference. “I think we have some unbelievable talent on this roster and I think we have an opportunity to do something really great here again and I’m looking forward to just coming in and just being myself, bringing that energy, bringing that effort every night and just having fun. This will be my 18th year in the league so at this point it’s all about enjoying every single moment having my family around, being around great teammates, great people and the greatest organization in the NBA.”
Howard now returns in a backup center role. It’s most likely that he splits time at the center position between Gasol and Anthony Davis, who will reportedly spend more time at center due to the addition of Russell Westbrook.
The 2020 championship run proved that there is perhaps no one in the NBA more valuable in that backup center role than Howard. He’ll get yet another chance to capture a championship in a Lakers uniform while playing alongside a brand new team.
Lakers to receive extra draft compensation in expanded Westbrook deal
The terms of the trade have not been finalized quite yet, but it appears that the Lakers will get three second-round draft picks in the Westbrook trade. It was originally supposed to be two second-rounders, but the trade expanded to five teams when Spencer Dinwiddie agreed to terms with the Wizards.
To get the Lakers to participate in the mega-trade, they were given a 2023 second-round pick via the Chicago Bulls.
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