The Los Angeles Lakers have made many great moves since the departure of president of basketball operations Magic Johnson at the end of the 2018-19 NBA season.
The duo of owner Jeanie Buss and general manager Rob Pelinka have largely silenced doubters and put together a great team and coaching staff. Perhaps their two most criticized moves were the hiring of assistant coach Jason Kidd and the signing of Dwight Howard.
Despite being a remarkable Hall of Fame player, Kidd has struggled since moving over to coaching. His stint with the Milwaukee Bucks was poor and was made even worse with their instant success following his departure. The Lakers are hoping that as an assistant coach, Kidd will be able to lend his expertise without having to run the show. Howard has had a ton of issues of his own since leaving the Lakers in 2013 and is now back on a non-guaranteed deal.
Now, in a turn of events that is sure to upset many Lakers faithful, it’s being reported that Kidd was the one who got Howard in the door in Los Angeles, and was perhaps the person who gave him the idea to sign with the Lakers, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic:
After the Lakers and Briscoe were given permission to seek the opportunity by the Grizzlies, Howard and Kidd were able to connect in person, league sources told The Athletic. They discussed life, their playing days together, the possibility of Howard joining the Lakers.
After the conversation between the two where they discussed that possibility, Kidd was reportedly convinced that Howard was ready to make a significant lifestyle change:
Kidd became convinced about Howard’s newfound awakening.
The Lakers went about the Howard process in the exact right way. They didn’t rush after DeMarcus Cousins‘ injury and they worked out and talked to several candidates, including Joakim Noah and and Mo Speights. They also made sure to warn Howard and give him a non-guaranteed deal so if anything goes haywire, they can cut him without any financial repercussions.
Despite all of this, it is rather disconcerting to see that bringing in someone as controversial as Howard was the brainchild of Kidd, who was arguably the most controversial addition to the Lakers this offseason.
Maybe Kidd really saw something different in Howard. But more likely than not, this will be Howard’s final shot at redemption and could very likely lead to him getting cut — at which point Kidd will have to answer some tough questions.