Dwight Howard has officially cleared waivers after being let go by the Memphis Grizzlies, and is in the process of signing his contract with the Los Angeles Lakers, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic:
Sources: Dwight Howard has cleared waivers and is signing his new Los Angeles Lakers contract now. Howard plans to wear No. 39 as a Laker next season.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 26, 2019
Dwight is the first Laker ever to wear #39 if you're into that sort of thing.— 30-50 feral honi's (@HoniAhm) August 26, 2019
Our NBA Insider @ShamsCharania reports Dwight Howard will wear No. 39 next season in his return to the Lakers.— Stadium (@Stadium) August 26, 2019
First look: pic.twitter.com/RnyjRchwKp
The contract that Dwight Howard will sign in LAL is called a “summer contract” because it has $0 salary protection (comparable to Anthony Bennett in Houston). Howard will earn $14,490 for every day he is on the roster. The per day clock will start on Oct. 21.— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) August 26, 2019
The Lakers later confirmed the move.
While some might say “didn’t we know this was going to happen already? Why is this news?”, and to them I say: Didn’t we say the same thing about Tyronn Lue being hired as head coach? Any time something that’s said to be in the works actually gets done after that, it’s news.
But as far as Howard goes, we’ll see if he says there is any meaning to it, but No. 39 is an exceedingly random number, and one the internet had some fun with:
Only Dwight Howard would choose number 39— Ali B (@ali_behpoornia) August 26, 2019
39 for the amount of fresh starts Dwight has had in the NBA— Grant Goldberg (@GrantGoldberg) August 26, 2019
Dwight should’ve rocked No. 35 just to have one number higher than Shaq. I need that in my life. pic.twitter.com/OxHzcVIgWy— Anthony F. Irwin (@AnthonyIrwinLA) August 26, 2019
Weird to wear your free throw shooting percentage but you do you, Dwight https://t.co/WQqjByfUef— Gary Kester (@garykester) August 26, 2019
But there might be a simpler explanation:
I’m going to do some math now.— Paolo Uggetti (@PaoloUggetti) August 26, 2019
3 + 9 = 12. There you go. https://t.co/ypjVBSpIon
As for Dwight’s deal being a “summer contract,” this just drives home again how thin of ice he’ll be starting out on in his second stint in Los Angeles. The Lakers aren’t offering any guaranteed money here, and if Howard doesn’t commit to playing the role the team wants him to, he’s going to be looking for another roster to latch on to real soon. If he just rebounds, screens and finishes lobs, however, he may last a bit longer.
For a player with the amount of fresh starts Howard has had, him changing now is a big if. But to add another one, if there was ever a time for Howard to turn things around and show he can contribute to winning as a role player, now would seem to be the time. He has to recognize that this might be his last NBA shot at this point, and one would think that would mean he’d mind his p’s and q’s to make sure he takes advantage of it.
If he doesn’t do so, well, he won’t be around long, and his No. 39 uniform will be a great hipster collector’s item to wear around Las Vegas Summer League.
For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.