Shams Charania: Sources: Dwight Howard has cleared waivers and is signing his new Los Angeles Lakers contract now. Howard plans to wear No. 39 as a Laker next season.
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Stadium: Our NBA Insider @Shams Charania reports Dwight Howard will wear No. 39 next season in his return to the Lakers. First look:
Omari Sanfoka II: Grizzlies announce they have officially waived Dwight Howard
After completing a contract buyout with the Memphis Grizzlies, Dwight Howard will sign a non-guaranteed contract with the Los Angeles Lakers that comes with a clear message, league sources told ESPN: Disrupt this team — and you’ll be gone.
In meetings with Lakers management, coaches and teammates — including Anthony Davis — late this week, Howard sold himself as an eight-time All-Star who had hit “rock bottom,” in the words of one team source, and promised that he’d humbly accept the responsibility to rebound and block shots for the Lakers.
He showed the Lakers that his surgically repaired back was healthy and that he had lost 25 pounds to get into better condition, and ultimately the Lakers chose him over Joakim Noah, sources said.
When fate and circumstance intervene, the results can be quite interesting. For the LA Lakers and Dwight Howard to reconnect, the word interesting is probably an understatement. Howard reached an agreement on a contract buyout with the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday and will sign a one-year, non-guaranteed $2.6 million deal with the Lakers once he clears waivers, league sources told 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. Howard’s message to Kidd and the Lakers was the same one he delivered to The Athletic in July from NBA summer league: He’s learned from the past several seasons, learned that, at age 33, he is simply one of the guys now. Howard believes he can contribute at a high level for any NBA team, but the eight-time All-Star also understands he has to focus on rebounding, defense, blocking shots, finishing around the rim and simply playing whenever he is asked. He has accepted it — as much as those in the basketball community have doubted his words.
The Lakers then began setting workouts for free agents, and Howard traveled from Atlanta to Los Angeles on Wednesday. His meeting and workout with the Lakers was set for Thursday, but Howard went to the Lakers’ facility in El Segundo, Calif., on Wednesday afternoon for his own training session. The Lakers were surprised to see him, sources said, and many key decision makers were in attendance.
The impromptu workout led to some informal dialogue among Howard and several Lakers officials, league sources said. “Dwight didn’t need to be here the day before the actual workout,” one source said, “but he was.” 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.
League sources said Howard had a convincing and emotional meeting with the players and Lakers officials, explaining how he had reached rock bottom a season ago and needed to find a new mindset in his life. On and off the floor. He was not the teammate he needed to be in playing for three teams in the past three years. He did not take the game seriously enough, he did not understand what was needed to turn the corner.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Howard came to meet Lakers after dropping 25 pounds; showed his back was healthy. Lakers want him to protect rim/rebound in limited role. There was sense Howard realized he hit “rock bottom” and had been humbled. Still they’ll judge him on actions, not words. He’s been warned.
Shams Charania: Dwight Howard’s agent, Charles Briscoe of Briscoe Sports Group, has completed buyout with Grizzlies officials, and Howard will sign with the Lakers once he clears waivers, sources tell @The Athletic @Stadium.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Dwight Howard’s deal with the Lakers will be non-guaranteed, league source tells ESPN. Howard had several meetings with Lakers officials, and they’ll give him a chance to show he’s made changes in how he conducts himself. Lakers players were involved in process.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Lakers are entering a Howard partnership with caution. For years, he’s talked about making changes in how he interacts with coaches and teammates. He’s still saying those things now, but the ability to cut him without cost keeps leverage with organization.
Ramona Shelburne: Dwight also met some Lakers players in this process. He convinced everyone that he’s genuine in wanting to play the role the Lakers need. And if not, he’ll be waived.
David Aldridge: The question with Dwight on the Lakers will be the same one it’s been for the last 5-6 years. He can still rebound and block shots with anyone, and occasionally score on the block, and thus could help any team. But will he be satisfied doing just those things?
Shams Charania: Dwight Howard is on his way back to the Los Angeles Lakers, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium.
Shams Charania: Dwight Howard is finalizing contract buyout with Memphis and plans to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers as free agent, league sources tell @The Athletic @Stadium.
Windhorst thinks the Lakers are doing their proper due diligence, but says Howard coming back to the Purple and Gold is probably not going to happen. “I don’t think it’s a very likely marriage,” Windhorst said on ESPN’s SportsCenter. “I think the Lakers right now are doing their due diligence on players, on available centers. Joakim Noah’s another guy they’ve looked at. “Dwight Howard has been on four different teams in the last four years. The Lakers are in need of somebody who can be healthy and give them minutes and that doesn’t fit who Dwight Howard or Joakim Noah are at this point of their careers.
“But I understand why the Lakers have those names on the list. I think this is unlikely. I believe the Lakers coaches want a younger, more active player at this point in their careers.”
Ramona Shelburne: As @VeniceMase and I discussed the other day on @ESPNLosAngeles … Dwight may have left town on bad terms with some in LA. But he always had a good relationship with Jeanie Buss. Remember, Jeanie and Phil tweeting at him during the recruiting process.
So does the Lakers’ recent affinity for Howard actually make sense? Should they really be after the eight-time All-Star? Are there not better options out there? According to one anonymous NBA executive who spoke to HoopsHype, the low-risk, high-reward nature of such a deal, one that would be worth the veteran minimum if it does happen, would make it a worthwhile gamble for Los Angeles. “Personal baggage aside, I would sign him,” the executive said. “He’s clearly the best player available if he’s healthy. We’ve heard the same song from him for years [as far as changing]. But for the minimum? Why not? If it doesn’t work, they move on.”
A second league exec polled by HoopsHype shared the same sentiment: “I think it’s worth the risk for them. If it doesn’t work out, they can cut bait.”
NBA Insider @ShamsCharania breaks down the Lakers beginning pursuit of Dwight Howard and the factors of motivation and health for the 8-time All-Star.
Shams Charania: The Grizzlies are granting the Los Angeles Lakers permission to speak with Dwight Howard, league sources tell @The Athletic @Stadium.
Ramona Shelburne: As @VeniceMase and I discussed the other day on @ESPNLosAngeles … Dwight Howard may have left town on bad terms with some in LA. But he always had a good relationship with Jeanie Buss. Remember, Jeanie and Phil tweeting at him during the recruiting process.
ShowtimeForum: “By all accounts @Dwight Howard is motivated right now and he wants to be a part of a potential #Lakers team. He’s excited about the prospects of joining @LeBron James & @Anthony Davis and doing really whatever is asked of him.” 🎥 @ShamsCharania pic.twitter.com/gjDRguwxmb
Shams Charania: The Lakers are expected to request permission soon to speak to Dwight Howard and there’s mutual interest between the eight-time All-Star and L.A. in wake of DeMarcus Cousins’ torn ACL, league sources tell @The Athletic @Stadium.
Rohan Nadkarni: A name I’m hearing the Lakers are seriously interested in after the Boogie Cousins injury: Dwight Howard. The Grizzlies haven’t bought him out yet, but he’s not expected to play in Memphis this season. Javale McGee is the only other center on LA’s roster.
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January 24, 2021 | 7:19 pm EST Update
Mirjam Swanson: PG on the six-game roadie coming up: “Not sure yet how well we can adjust to the limitations, but we should grow … we’ll have to find our fun within our team. So we’ll figure it out. That’s the least of the worries. We’ll figure it out.”
Andrew Greif: Ivica Zubac said he can “do much more than my game is showing right now.” But he said he feels “so much more comfortable” playing in fourth quarters this season (after barely doing it last year).
Brandon Rahbar: George Hill on Shai: “Even after games, he’s trying to figure out what he can do better. He has high expectations for himself, and we have high expectations for him. He’s developing into a great young guard in this league.”