Lakers Rumors: Dwight Howard Targeted by LA After DeMarcus Cousins' ACL Injury

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistAugust 18, 2019

Los Angeles Lakers' Dwight Howard during the second of an NBA basketball game against the Houston Rockets in Los Angeles, Wednesday, April 17, 2013. The Lakers won 99-95 in overtime. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Lakers are "seriously interested" in eight-time All-Star Dwight Howard following DeMarcus Cousins' knee injury earlier this week, according to Rohan Nadkarni of Sports Illustrated.

Howard is under contract with the Memphis Grizzlies for the 2019-20 season for $5.6 million following a July trade from the Washington Wizards. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported at the time of the swap that Memphis was expected to either waive or trade Howard.

Cousins' availability for the upcoming season is uncertain after he suffered torn ACL during a workout Monday. It marked his third major injury in 19 months, as he previously ruptured his Achilles in January 2018 and tore his left quad in April.

That leaves Los Angeles thin at center. JaVale McGee is the team's only established 5, as NBA TV's Jared Greenberg reported the Lakers don't expect forward Anthony Davis to play "big minutes" at the position.

Howard is with his fifth organization since 2016. After signing with Washington last offseason, he appeared in only nine games before undergoing spinal surgery in November "to relieve pain in his glutes." 

He may not be the dominant player he was before injuries, but he has proved he can still be a double-double machine. In his last healthy season, he averaged 16.6 points, 12.5 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game in 81 appearances for the Charlotte Hornets in 2017-18.

Of note, Howard was a member of the Lakers' last playoff team, as he put up 17.1 points, 12.4 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game in purple and gold in 2012-13.

The Lakers are in the midst of a franchise-record six-year playoff drought.

During his previous tenure in L.A., Howard was expected to be a major force alongside Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash. These days, Frank Vogel and Co. would look for the 33-year-old big man to play a supporting role for Davis, four-time NBA MVP LeBron James and Kyle Kuzma.

Howard told Arash Markazi of the Los Angeles Times recently that he would be open to once again play his home games at Staples Center because "I do love L.A."

Arash Markazi @ArashMarkazi

Dwight Howard: “I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I do love L.A. Staples Center is going to be rocking this season. When I played there it was rocking every night. The atmosphere is crazy." https://t.co/vZqbU3m67A

Los Angeles attempted to re-sign Howard as a free agent in 2013, but he joined the Houston Rockets instead. He told Markazi during his recent interview that "it just wasn't the right fit for me at the time" to stay with the Lakers.