Dwight Howard moving from the Memphis Grizzlies to the Los Angeles Lakers is reportedly "unlikely" despite rumors of Lakers interest after DeMarcus Cousins suffered a torn ACL during an offseason workout.
ESPN's Brian Windhorst said during a Monday appearance on SportsCenter that the Lakers are probably going to target a "younger, more active player" than Howard or free agent Joakim Noah.
"I don't think it's a very likely marriage. I think the Lakers right now are doing their due diligence on players, on available centers," Windhorst said. "... There's a process because Dwight Howard is a member of the Memphis Grizzlies, he can't have free-agent discussions with other teams."
Cousins' arrival was part of a blockbuster summer for Los Angeles that was headlined by the arrival of power forward Anthony Davis to pair with LeBron James. It moved the team into the thick of the championship conversation, but it must now find a new starting center.
Howard was one of the NBA's most valuable players in his peak seasons with the Orlando Magic, but injuries and a changing landscape that's lessened the importance of traditional centers have made him a fringe asset in recent years.
Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic reported the Grizzlies granted clearance for the Lakers to speak with the eight-time All-Star selection. Further details, including whether Memphis would want some type of notable compensation, are unclear, though.
A return to the Lakers would give Howard a chance to rewrite his story with the storied franchise after a forgettable 2012-13 season, when L.A. failed to reach expectations after acquiring him from the Magic.
"So there were some positives. We just didn't win that season, and that's what happens when you play basketball," he told Arash Markazi of the Los Angeles Times in July. "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."
For now, it sounds like the team is going to explore younger options to fill the void left by Cousins, though.