While the signing of Montrezl Harrell wound up being the Los Angeles Lakers’ biggest piece of news from a crazy first night of NBA free agency, the saga involving Dwight Howard just hours before was far more strange.
Not long into the free agency period, both Howard and Shams Charania of The Athletic tweeted out the the veteran big man would be re-signing with the Lakers. However, seconds later, both tweets were deleted and it was reported that Howard was still listening to offers.
What followed was approximately an hour of complete silence on his situation. Then it was revealed Howard would be signing a one-year contract with the Philadelphia 76ers for the minimum.
The odd turn of events was eventually explained as a miscommunication between the Lakers and Howard, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:
Free-agent center Dwight Howard was under the impression that he had a one-year, $3 million deal on the table to return to the Los Angeles Lakers, league sources tell Yahoo Sports. This led to the veteran center tweeting out his announcement.
However, sources within the organization are adamant that a formal offer was never made, maintaining that dialogue was merely a “deal concept.” Howard thought if he agreed to the “deal concept” that it was a done deal, sources said.
While there’s no way to know fully what the truth of the situation was, this reporting looks very bad for both parties. It appears that the Lakers firmly believe they never offered a legitimate contract to Howard, whereas he thought it was an offer.
The whole public mess could have been avoided, however, if Howard did not tweet out that he was returning to L.A. While it seems like Howard genuinely thought it was a done deal the second he said yes to what the Lakers called a “deal concept,” it’s also possible that he tweeted it out to essentially force the Lakers hand. If that’s the case, it backfired significantly.
Still, Howard should be remembered positively for returning to the Lakers and becoming an instant contributor for a championship team. While it was only for one season, Howard did finally deliver on bringing a title to L.A.
Lakers looking to Marc Gasol to potentially replace Howard
L.A. can now only hand out veteran minimum contracts to players that were not on their roster last season, and one of the players they may be targeting with that is former Toronto Raptors big man Marc Gasol.
Gasol would fill the gap left by Howard by bringing a high basketball IQ and solid defense to a team that now need a backup true center. Though, the Lakers could ultimately be priced out if Gasol generates enough interest.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!