The Los Angeles Lakers to reportedly sign Dwight Howard

The Los Angeles Lakers to reportedly sign Dwight Howard

At first, the instant reaction is, "Very amusing", but immediately afterwards the news requires a "Wait, you're serious?" The Memphis Grizzlies just announced that they would be buying Howard out of his contract making him a free agent. He has played with the Hawks, Charlotte and Washington - and been waived after trades to Brooklyn and Memphis without ever wearing a uniform. He was an integral part of those teams as well, being a guy capable of knocking down a big shot and more infamously being able to take the harsh criticism and barking from LeBron James.

Howard has always been a polarizing player and, though maybe not entirely his fault, has never projected the sort of unselfish behavior that will be desired at Staples Center.

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. Quite incredibly, Howard hasn't come off the bench in a single game since March 2006. He was not the teammate he needed to be in playing for three teams in the past three years. But Howard also hasn't thrived since shortly after he departed: He made the All-NBA second team for the Rockets, but struggled with injuries and eventually left as a free agent in 2016. However, at the first sign of trouble, the Lakers will have the option to cut bait on Dwight as he will ink a non-guaranteed contract.

Rim-protecting might be another story, though. The Lakers wanted two NBA-caliber centers to do the thankless work of defending the low post and protecting the rim, and Cousins' latest serious injury forced them to make an unlikely selection to team up with McGee in the role.

The last time Dwight Howard was a talking point - for the lack of a better word, relevant - in the National Basketball Association, it was certainly a different time.

Howard can definitely still rebound at a near-elite level.

This is the kind of player the Lakers need Howard to be, and it's something he can do. Woj notes that Howard's deal is non-guaranteed and "he's been warned" that he'll be "judged by his actions, not words".

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