Dwight Howard’s Desire For Bigger Role With Lakers Led To Exit

Dwight Howard’s Desire For Bigger Role With Lakers Led To Exit

Dwight Howard signed a one-year, $2.6 million deal with the Philadelphia 76ers this week following a particularly odd sequence of events.

It all began late Friday afternoon, when Howard tweeted out that he was staying with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Dwight Howard’s Desire For Bigger Role With Lakers Led To Exit 1

Shortly thereafter the Lakers came out and adamantly said that no formal offer had actually been extended to Howard. As a result, the 34-year-old was forced to go back and delete his original tweet.

Turns out, the Lakers and Howard’s team had been engaged in conversations regarding a possible deal. LA was slow-playing it, whereas Howard was taking it all very literally. When the two sides discussed the broad strokes of a one-year, $3 million deal, Howard mistakenly thought that was what was being offered to him. Hence the tweet.

When the Lakers made it clear that no such offer had formally been extended, Howard was forced to scramble and go with Plan B.

The obvious question everyone came away with from this entire mess was: why did the Lakers drag their feet on re-signing Howard?

As it turns out – it’s because they didn’t actually care about re-signing him all that much. According to USA Today NBA insider Mark Medina, Howard’s wished for role with the team was not what general manager Rob Pelinka had in mind for him.

“[Pelinka] did not fret over losing Dwight Howard since his hopes for a larger role contradicted the team’s plans to use him only when the matchups called for it,” Medina wrote.

Howard’s desire to have an outsized role in the team’s schemes relative to his present-day abilities speaks to a recurring issue. Similar things were said about him in his previous stops over the past few years.

Last season he averaged 7.5 points and 7.3 rebounds per outing while serving as an admittedly significant part of some of the Lakers’ defensive plans on certain occasions.

That said, the team utilized him situationally. Against the Houston Rockets and Miami Heat in the playoffs, for example, LA had little use for him against two clubs that relied on small ball to get ahead. Conversely, in the Western Conference Finals against the Denver Nuggets, Howard was a useful big body to throw at Nikola Jokic.

In Howard’s place the Lakers went out and signed Montrezl Harrell to a two-year, $19 million deal, and Marc Gasol to a two-year, $5 million deal.

Last year, Harrell averaged 18.6 points on 58 percent shooting from the field and 7.1 rebounds in 27.8 minutes per game off the bench for the Los Angeles Clippers.

Gasol, meanwhile, averaged 7.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists while shooting 42.7 percent from the field, 38.5 percent from beyond the arc and 73.5 percent from the free-throw line in 44 outings for the Toronto Raptors in 2019-20.

Both men should do a fine job replacing Howard’s minimal production, and it’s hard to see the Lakers as having done anything other than majorly upgrading at center this offseason.

Related: Cam Newton’s Blunt Answer On His Future With Patriots

Anthony Amador

A graduate from the University of Texas, Anthony Amador has been credentialed to cover the Houston Texans, Dallas Cowboys, San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks and high school games all over the Lone Star State. Currently, his primary beats are the NBA, MLB, NFL and UFC.

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