Last summer, following news that DeMarcus Cousins had suffered an ACL tear in his left knee, the Lakers unexpectedly donated to Dwight Howard – who sadly left Los Angeles after a season in 2013 – a one year contract. However, there was a catch.
Due to the way things ended with his last teams, the Lakers wanted Howard to prove he was ready to be a team player before making a financial commitment for him. They did so by getting Howard to sign an unsecured contract for the veteran’s minimum – the first unsecured contract in his illustrious career.
To Howard’s credit, there hasn’t been a great period of adjustment. Immediately he accepted his role as the Lakers’ main save center and played it well, so much so that halfway through the Western Conference Finals Howard secured a berth in the starting lineup.
Howard’s return to relevance was the wellness story of the 2019-20 season, and the fact that it ended with winning his very first championship made it even better. However, Howard is done with this chapter of his life.
That’s not to say Howard wants to quit the Lakers – in fact, in a recent interview with Etan Thomas from Basketball NewsHoward said he “would love” to come back to Los Angeles. But Howard also clarified that he no longer signs unsecured contracts:
” I would like. I would love to come back and play. You know, I think the season we had this year was like a test for everyone. We were trying to learn from and understand each other and in doing so we won a championship. I wish we would all come back. I would love to come back and play for the Lakers. Hopefully this year they give me a contract… that’s the most important thing. I don’t want to play for free anymore.
“This year it was like, ‘okay I’ll do anything,’ but I think I’ve earned the right to have an opinion on a contract for myself. So that’s the most important thing. But I would really like to come back and play for the Lakers. They have the best fans in the world. It was amazing. My wife plays for the Sparks, so it would be great for us to still be in the same city and play.
Howard will be an unrestricted free agent when the free agency moratorium window opens on November 19, and according to a report by Shams Charania of The Athletic in October, there is a “mutual interest” between Howard in the Lakers in making a deal. agreement. However, the Lakers aren’t the only team vying for Howard’s regular defensive production.
In the same report, Charania reported that the Golden State Warriors planned to pursue Howard in free will. Like the Lakers, the Warriors will enter free will beyond the salary cap, and since the Lakers do not have their bird rights, the maximum either team can offer them without using an exception. is the veteran’s minimum.
As of right now, it’s unclear what Howard’s expectations are when it comes to his salary, but at a minimum (no pun intended) he wants a guaranteed contract, and after the season he’s had with the Lakers, that shouldn’t be a breaker deal for any team.
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