Dwight Howard and the Los Angeles Lakers reportedly have mutual in a reunion next season, but before the two parties go any further with their plans, the Lakers need permission from the Memphis Grizzles to speak to Howard.
The Grizzlies acquired Howard in a trade last month and while they reportedly intend to waive or buy him out eventually, he’s still under contract with the team, so any communication between Howard and the Lakers without the Grizzlies’ permission would be tampering. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Lakers received that permission on Sunday:
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean a deal is imminent.
According to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, the Lakers will be one of several teams that Howard will talk to in the coming days and it doesn’t sound like Los Angeles has made their mind up on Howard yet, either:
Regarding the Lakers and Dwight Howard, a team source says their interest is more “due diligence “ after the Boogie injury. Memphis has granted permission for Dwight and his camp to speak to teams, one of which is the Lakers.— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) August 18, 2019
So I don’t think this decision would be about bridges burned. More like whether the Lakers feel Dwight Howard would be their best option after the loss of Boogie. Still very early in that decision making process.— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) August 18, 2019
Howard is definitely one of the biggest free agents on the market (or soon to hit the market) but there are a handful of players that could be just as impactful as him in the right role, such as Joakim Noah and Kenneth Faried. The hope is that the conversation between Howard and the Lakers will give the team a better idea of where he’s at mentally and—most —physically compared to the other options that are available.
In other words, if Howard is on the opening night roster next season, it’s because he made the case that he was the best free agent available and the front office agreed. If he’s not on the team when October rolls around, it will likely because the Lakers saw too many red flags with Howard, both on and off the court.
We’ll find out which decision they make soon enough.