Dwight Howard returning to the Los Angeles Lakers? That might be a possibility in the wake of DeMarcus Cousins’ devastating knee injury. The Lakers have set up workouts with several players as they attempt to figure out their rotation for the 2019-20 season with Boogie sidelined.
Howard is currently under contract with the Memphis Grizzlies, but is expected to be bought out or traded. The team has given him permission to look at other opportunities. His $5.6 million expiring contract could be a valuable trade chip for Memphis.
Obviously there are a lot of hard feelings between Howard and Lakers fans. He arrived in LA with much fanfare after a trade prior to the 2012 season. Pitched as the franchise’s next great center, Howard averaged 17.1 points and 12.4 rebounds during his lone season in LA, but buckled under the pressure of playing with Kobe Bryant. That offseason he opted to sign with the Houston Rockets instead of re-upping with the Lakers.
Howard played in just nine games with the Washington Wizards last season thanks to numerous injuries. He averaged 12.8 points and 9.2 rebounds in 25.6 minutes per game with the Wizards.
Noah, Speights and Gortat are all free agents.
Noah played well for the Grizzlies in 42 games during the 2018-19 season. He averaged 7.1 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 16.5 minutes per contest. His PER of 18.63 was also his highest since the 2013-14 campaign.
Gortat was released by the Los Angeles Clippers last season after starting 47 games. He averaged 5.0 points and 5.6 rebounds in 16.0 minutes per game.
Speights has been playing in China with the Guangzhou Long-Lions since the summer of 2018. He last played in the NBA during the 2017-18 season with the Orlando Magic, during which he averaged 7.7 points and 2.6 rebounds in 13.0 minutes per game in 52 contests. He also won an NBA title with the Golden State Warriors in 2015.
Obviously none of those guys has the upside of Cousins, but they Lakers need to find someone to fill in at center.