In the wake of the unfortunate DeMarcus Cousins injury, the Los Angeles Lakers had to move quickly to add another center to the roster.
After working out a number of different potential options, they decided to bring back Dwight Howard, one of the more disliked players to ever wear a Lakers uniform.
Howard spent the 2012-13 NBA season in Los Angeles and did not endear himself to the team or fanbase. He would leave the following summer to join the Houston Rockets, but has been unable to stick with a team ever since. The Lakers will be his sixth team since 2016 and after an injury-plagued 2019 season, there are a ton of questions about his health and motivation moving forward.
Apparently, Howard answered those in his workout with the Lakers — appearing very healthy and athletic, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic:
According to multiple witnesses to Howard’s workouts this summer, he appears fully athletic and healthy. Motivation and health were the two most critical factors to any team deciding whether to take a chance on him. For the first time in years, Howard seems fully motivated and fully healthy. He will compete with McGee for the starting center job, and he explained to the Lakers that he’s ready to play as many minutes as needed and be a piece to help James and Davis.
Another source described Howard as looking amazing, via Charania:
When Thursday arrived, Howard had a workout in which the Lakers believed he looked healthy and fit. “Amazing,” said a source present in the gym.
There are still plenty of questions surrounding Howard, but he undoubtedly made the right impression on the Lakers. He was reportedly able to win over both Anthony Davis and LeBron James with his mindset and spoke with others on the roster who wondered whether or not they could trust him.
So far Howard is saying all the right things, but it will be his actions which he will be judged on.
He is an ideal fit for what the Lakers are looking for with his ability to defend, rebound, and finish at the rim. If he is truly healthy and motivated, he could truly help bring the Lakers a championship — something that was expected back in 2012 and no one ever thought was possible in 2019.