Dwight Howard has cleared waivers and is officially a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. At least for now.
Shams Charania of The Athletic updated that he cleared waivers this morning and had pictures of Howard in his new jersey. The Lakers officially confirmed the signing later in the day.
Los Angeles waived Exhibit 10 contract player Aric Holman to make room on the roster for Howard, the team confirmed this report as well.
While Laker fans should not be described as optimistic about the return of Howard, most also are realistic about their options and the fact Howard is on a non-guaranteed contract the Lakers can walk away from at any time. That deal is something Bobby Marks of ESPN explains in more detail.
Howard was traded from the Wizards to the Grizzlies, who bought him out and waived him. Howard gave back $2.6 million in his buyout with the Grizzlies, which is exactly how much his veteran minimum contract with the Lakers will pay him — if he makes it through the season.
Howard and JaVale McGee will team up to play the minutes at the five Anthony Davis does not (AD is their best center, and it’s not close, but he wants to play the four most of the game). Howard could be fantastic in that role if he sticks just to rebounding, defense, setting picks and rolling hard to the rim. For three seasons, from 2015-16 to 2017-18, Howard averaged 13+ points and 12 rebounds a night, was a big body on defense, and played at least 71 games in averaging 30 minutes a night. However, in those years Howard pushed back against a defense/set-a-pick-and-roll/rebound role, he was a distraction. Last season he could not stay healthy.
Howard is saying all the right things about accepting that role now, and he convinced Jason Kidd — the Lakers’ assistant coach who championed him — and the franchise that he is serious this time. However, that “summer contract” the Lakers gave him sums up the caution they feel entering this second go-around with Howard.
Laker training camp is going to be interesting.