Los Angeles Lakers still view Hassan Whiteside as the No. 1 big man target in free agency. However, former Laker Dwight Howard could become Plan B, as per latest Lakers Rumors.
Howard, expected to opt out of the final year of his contract with Houston Rockets, will be seeking a maximum contract during free agency. However, is Howard worth the max deal?
According to several league sources, Howard is no longer viewed an “elite big man” and could struggle to persuade a team to pay him max dollars.
A few days ago, SB Nation’s Silver Screen & Roll proposed the idea of a Howard-Lakers reunion. According to Ben Rosales, the Lakers could offer a four-year deal that starts at $31.1 million. “Dwight has over ten years of service in the league, so he qualifies for the 35% max. Assuming an $89 million cap, the Lakers could offer a four-year deal that starts at $31.1 million. Assuming 4.5% raises each year, that’s like, $133 million over four years,” writes the SB Nation reporter.
Does it make sense for Lakers?
During their last go-around, Howard didn’t leave Los Angeles in the best of terms. There were reports of a rift between Howard and Kobe Bryant, which led to the superstar big man taking his talents to Houston Rockets. With Bryant set to retire, will Howard be able to thrive in L.A. during a second stint?
Why will Los Angeles take this massive gamble? Because Lakers need an elite center. The Roy Hibbert experiment didn’t work. And Whiteside could end up re-signing with Miami Heat. The likes of Al Horford and Joakim Noah won’t bring to the table the elite defensive ability of Howard.
Silver Screen & Roll sums it up perfectly. “In case you haven’t been paying attention the past two seasons, the Lakers have been absolutely one of the most abysmal defensive squads in the NBA. The team has no discipline defensively, highlighted by their horrid protection of the basket.”
Howard is a former three-time Defensive Player of the Year. Granted that Howard is no longer an elite shot-blocker, he’d still be a significant upgrade to Hibbert.
Should the Purple & Gold pursue Dwight Howard? Stay tuned for latest Lakers Rumors.