Lakers plan to work out several veteran centers, including Dwight Howard and Joakim Noah, per report
Los Angeles is considering every center under the sun to fill the void left by the injured Boogie Cousins
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Lakers plan to hold several individual workouts with the best centers on the market in order to evaluate both their physical condition and mindset. The names currently on the list? Dwight Howard, Joakim Noah and Marreese Speights. Also under consideration is Marcin Gortat, who is currently in Europe.
Howard is currently a member of the Memphis Grizzlies, but has reportedly already about a potential return, and Wojnarowski adds that the Grizzlies would be willing to give him a buyout to get him to Los Angeles. Noah, Speights and Gortat are all free agents.
Noah and Howard are likely competing on the same front as defensive-minded players with All-Star pedigrees, but there are concerns with both as far as fitting in with the Lakers. Howard played in Los Angeles during the 2012-13 season and then left in free agency. He is not exactly beloved by the organization or the fan base, though Ramona Shelburne of ESPN noted that he did have a strong relationship with owner Jeanie Buss.
Noah has never played for the Lakers, but he has battled LeBron James in the postseason four times. Their relationship was contentious at that point and included Noah claiming that Cleveland, as a city, "sucks." But the two have not met in a playoff series since 2015, and Noah has played for two teams (Knicks and Grizzlies) since leaving the Bulls.
Speights and Gortat do not have that same history with the Lakers or James, and they are very different kinds of players. They are offensive-minded centers, both of whom were essentially out of the NBA before this call. Speights played in China last season, while Gortat failed to find a new team once he was waived by the Los Angeles Clippers in February. Speights is a strong mid-range shooter, while Gortat has thrived in pick-and-roll-heavy offenses. Neither matches Cousins' complete offensive skill set, but both could serve as approximations in small doses.
While condition and mindset are important, the Lakers also need to decide what they expect out of a potential addition at center. Do they want someone who will fill the same basic role that Cousins would have? Or are they looking for the best available player, regardless of style? Are they expecting this player to carry a big load? Or will Anthony Davis be picking up some of the slack at center?
The Lakers have been patient in replacing Cousins, and rightfully so. They are doing their due diligence, but also determining what exactly they want out of such a critical signing.
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