Wizards' Dwight Howard: Exercises 2019-20 option

Howard (back) informed the Wizards on Friday that he would exercise his $5.6 million player option for 2019-20, Zach Lowe of ESPN.com reports.

Limited to just nine appearances in his first season in Washington due to a back injury that ultimately required surgery, Howard wasn't likely to find any team willing to pay him $5.6 million had he explored free agency. He thus determined it was in his best interest to exercise his option, ensuring that he'll be back with the Wizards for another season. Though Washington envisioned Howard serving as a stopgap starter at center heading into last season, it's unclear if the 33-year-old will get the opportunity to even compete for a top-unit role if he returns to training camp at full health. Thomas Bryant flashed an intriguing skill set at center during his second NBA season, and the Wizards might not be willing to reduce his playing time in 2019-20 to accommodate Howard. Washington may also bolster its frontcourt through free agency, trade or the draft, which would further reduce Howard's chances of re-emerging as an impact player.

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