The Los Angeles Lakers need a big man after center DeMarcus Cousins suffered a torn ACL that will keep him out indefinitely, and the answer may be free agent Dwight Howard, per Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic.
"Personal baggage aside, I would sign him," one executive told HoopsHype. "He’s clearly the best player available if he’s healthy. We’ve heard the same song from him for years [as far as changing]. But for the minimum? Why not? If it doesn’t work, they move on."
Another executive also reacted positively: "I think it’s worth the risk for them. If it doesn’t work out, they can cut bait."
Howard, 33, averaged 12.8 points and 9.6 rebounds in nine games for the Washington Wizards in a season cut short by glute and hamstring injuries.
The eight-time All-Star and five-time All-NBA First Team member has been in the league since 2004 and played the 2012-13 season with L.A.
That campaign was supposed to bring a championship to L.A. with a new "Big Three" featuring Howard, two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash and five-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant, but the Lakers struggled to a 45-37 finish before the San Antonio Spurs swept them in the first round of the playoffs.
Howard would join the Lakers in somewhat similar circumstances. There isn't an established superstar trio just yet, but the Lakers now have two of the best players in the league with six-time All-Star Anthony Davis wearing the purple and gold along with four-time NBA MVP LeBron James.
Like 2012-13, though, Los Angeles has championship aspirations. In fact, Caesars lists L.A. with 3-1 odds to win the NBA title, tops in the league.
Howard wouldn't come to Los Angeles with the expectations he carried before as a superstar coming off an excellent eight-year stretch with the Orlando Magic, as he'd be a complementary piece surrounding the James-Davis duo.
But as the executives said, Howard is the best big man on the market and could be a steal at the veteran minimum.