Coming off a season in which they were eliminated by the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games in the second round of the NBA Playoffs, the Los Angeles Lakers reloaded by trading for Steve Nash and Dwight Howard in the summer of 2012.
Several months after seeing their trade for Chris Paul vetoed, the Lakers seemingly still put together a roster that would lead to another run at the NBA Finals. Of course, the infamous 2012-13 season had nothing close to a fairytale ending.
Nash suffered an injury that derailed his career, Howard struggled to return from a back injury and fit in alongside Kobe Bryant. Nonetheless, Bryant and Howard eventually gelled well enough and the Lakers stormed to qualify for the playoffs.
But Bryant suffered a torn Achilles tendon and L.A., accruing additional injuries along the way, were swept by the San Antonio Spurs in the first round.
Howard left for the Houston Rockets in free agency and has bounced around since. In what can be considered nothing short of a surprise, he’s said to be interested in returning to the Lakers because it would entail playing with LeBron James, as Sam Amick relayed to Alex Kennedy on the HoopsHype Podcast:
In addition to the Pelicans and Warriors, Dwight Howard is interested in returning to the Lakers, according to Sam Amick. "He’d like to play with LeBron [James]," Amick said on The HoopsHype Podcast. "That’s definitely on his radar." It's unclear if the interest is mutual.
— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) July 3, 2018
Center is a position of need for the Lakers, but it’s difficult to envision Howard returning. Even if it meant doing so on an extremely team-friendly contract.
Howard’s easy-going personality and approach to the game didn’t earn him any favors with the fanbase. Many weren’t pleased the Lakers launched a public recruiting campaign for the enigmatic center.
Since moving on, Howard said it was with the Lakers that he lost confidence as a player, and he surmised playing through an ailing back meant nothing to fans. One constant Howard has maintained was he didn’t have any issues with Bryant.
Though his lone season with the Lakers was hardly smooth sailing, years of separation may have been enough for Howard to move on. But in order for him to potentially return, Howard will first need to finalize a buyout agreement with the Brooklyn Nets.
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