Dwight Howard Returns To Lakers, Joining Carmelo Anthony

Los Angeles Lakers LeBron James (23) is victorious, hugging Dwight Howard (39) after winning Game 6 and series vs Miami Heat at AdventHealth Arena on Oct. 10, 2020. (Photo by David E. Klutho/Sports Illustrated via Getty Images)

August 2, 2021 (Updated Aug. 3)

By Terrance Turner

Dwight Howard is headed back to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Howard’s agent Qais Haider confirmed to The Athletic that the NBA center is returning to L.A. and the team with which he won a ring:

This will be Howard’s third stint with the Lakers. After a highly publicized and unsuccessful tenure with the Lakers during the 2012-13 season, Howard left to join the Houston Rockets. After brief stays in Atlanta, Charlotte and Washington, Howard rejoined the Lakers in late August 2019. The Lakers went on to win the NBA championship.

On October 10, 2020, the Lakers defeated the Miami Heat 106-93 to win Game 6 and the title. After 16 years in the league, Dwight Howard had finally earned his first NBA championship. Howard was emotional after the win, recording a video in which he tearfully urged his followers not to give up on their dreams:

Months later, Howard surprised observers by signing a one-year deal with the Philadelphia 76ers. The move apparently came after a miscommunication. According to Yahoo! Sports’ Chris Haynes, Howard was under the impression that he had a $3 million offer from the Lakers and tweeted the news that he was coming back.

But Haynes quoted sources within the organization that said the offer was merely a “deal concept”. Haynes wrote: “Lakers management informed Howard’s agent that they had to consult with team ownership and seek approval before making an official offer, sources said. Howard waited for nearly an hour without hearing back, sources said.” Meanwhile, the 76ers were aggressively courting Howard and managed to sign him when no Lakers offer arose.

“I was never offered a deal from the Lakers,” Howard told reporters about the situation. “Once Philly called and I talked to Doc [Rivers], he already told me he wanted me on the team.”

According to Bleacher Report, Howard averaged 7.0 points, 8.4 rebounds and shot 58.7 percent from the field in 69 appearances with Philadelphia. The 76ers made it to the playoffs but lost to the Atlanta Hawks. Now, Howard is going back to LA with a one-year deal. 

BREAKING (August 3, 2021): Carmelo Anthony is also signing a a one-year deal with the Lakers, according to ESPN reporter Adrian Wojranowski. The move brings him, at last, together with LeBron James.

Both Anthony and James were part of the 2003 NBA Draft class. Just teenagers at the time, the two had similar upbringings — raised by single mothers in rough neighborhoods — and played the same position (small forward). Both were ultra-hyped draft picks; both weathered intense media scrutiny. The two were part of the 2008 Olympic men’s basketball team that won a gold medal in Beijing, according to Yahoo! Sports. They had wanted to play together for years, according to writer Howard Beck:

Significantly, Anthony turned 37 this year. Howard will be 36 on Dec. 8. James will be 37 on Dec. 30. That means that the Lakers have 5 players over the age of 35 — the most by any roster since the 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers. That team, led by LeBron James, went on to win the NBA Championship — the first major pro sports championship for Cleveland since 1964!

The 2016 Cavs. Photo from USA Today.
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