The Los Angeles Lakers were left reeling when DeMarcus Cousins tore his ACL last week, and while Dwight Howard has been by far the most mentioned name as the team searches for replacements, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports that he isn't the only player the team will look at:
Sources: Lakers planning individual workouts to evaluate centers Joakim Noah, Dwight Howard and Mo Speights this week in Los Angeles. Another consideration currently overseas: Marcin Gortat. Lakers want a window into physical condition and mindset of a potential addition.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 20, 2019
It should be noted that this won't be the first time that L.A. has taken a look at Speights this summer, as Frank Vogel went and watched the big man at a private workout in Las Vegas during NBA Summer League. But while Speights would provide some of the floor-spacing (Speights-ing?) skill the Lakers lost when Cousins went down, he was also out of the league last year, so him getting the nod for one of the Lakers' final roster spots is probably unlikely.
Gortat is also an interesting name who could help the Lakers on the glass — his career rebound percentage sits at 17.5, and he grabbed 18.4 percent of available boards while on the floor for the Clippers last year — but given that he won't be one of the players brought in for a workout because he isn't in the country, it's hard to imagine him getting the edge over the other three.
So with all that noted, Noah -- who was really good for the Grizzlies last season -- and Howard would still seem to be the best options on paper here. Still, for a Lakers organization that has frequently taken criticism for going with the options they're most familiar with (a critique that would apply mostly to Howard in this case), the team taking the time to look at four players and see where the three of them are at physically and mentally right now is something that should be noted, and even if not applauded, still at least seen as the right approach.
Stay tuned for updates on each of these workouts as they happen, and to see who the Lakers add to their roster as the dog days of summer continue with just one main storyline left to watch.