The Los Angeles Lakers are in need of a center following the earlier this week, and they apparently have one in mind. That would be Dwight Howard, who is currently a member of the Memphis Grizzlies thanks to a recent trade.
Fortunately for Los Angeles, Shams Charania of The Athletic is reporting that the Grizzlies have granted the Lakers permission to speak to the veteran big man, paving the way for a potential deal if the two sides can agree to terms.
While Howard, who will turn 34 in December, is past his peak as a player, he is still a serviceable center that averaged 16.6 points, 12.5 rebounds, 1.6 blocks and 1.3 assists per game in 81 starts for the Charlotte Hornets two seasons ago (injury issues limited him to just nine games for the Wizards last season). Plus, considering the fact that JaVale McGee is currently the only healthy center on their roster, the Lakers could certainly use him.
Howard's first stint with the Lakers was largely a disappointment as he clashed with All-Star guard Kobe Bryant, and the team failed to live up to lofty preseason expectations. Still, he said his experience there wasn't all bad.
"There were some positives," Howard said of his time with the Lakers, via the Los Angeles Times. "We just didn't win that season, and that's what happens when you play basketball. Things may look good, but injuries and other issues may happen and things might not work out, but I still had a good time in L.A.
"... It just wasn't the right fit for me at the time. But the Lakers have been doing something right for a long time because they have the most fans in the world and the most championships over the past 40 years. You're not going to win a championship every year, but they're back and will compete for a championship next season. There's some really good teams out there and everybody wants to see how everything is going to shake out. But it's great to see teams that were struggling are back competing for a title again."
While the Lakers are interested in Howard, the feeling may be mutual, as Howard said that he would be open to a second stint in L.A.
"I don't know what's going to happen, but I do love L.A.," Howard said. "Staples Center is going to be rocking this season. When I played there it was rocking every night."
Howard was ultimately unable to contribute to a Los Angeles title team during his first go-around in the city, but he will have a shot at redemption if he is eventually acquired by the Lakers ahead of the 2019-20 season.