The Dwight Howard and Lakers partnership has been one that has experienced lots of ups and downs throughout three different stints. It was never lower than in his first stint, it was never higher than him helping the Lakers win a title and it was a roller coaster in-between.
After a tumultuous season that wasn’t entirely Dwight’s fault last year — and the big man showing pretty obvious signs of decline — the Lakers opted to move on with younger bigs. Dwight would fail to land with an NBA team and instead opted to sign with the Taoyuan Leopards in Taiwan, a decision he only recently announced.
Prior to that, though, Dwight sat down with Shannon Sharpe of Fox Sports 1 on his podcast Club Shay Shay where he discussed his time in Los Angeles where he noted he wanted to return to Los Angeles for this season.
“I’ve been willing to go back. They told me every time ‘We’re not going to give nobody over 30 a multiple-year contract.’ I was like ‘Dang, I just helped ya’ll win an NBA championship. Ya’ll can give your boy a (million) or two, or give me a (million). I don’t want a whole bunch of minutes. Give me 20 minutes and let me ball out.’”
Bizarrely, Dwight then goes on to suggest the reason he wasn’t brought back after helping the Lakers win a title in 2020 was that he originally left the franchise in 2013 and they wanted some form of payback, though he attempts to kind of walk that back after saying it as well.
He also says that his sideline brouhaha with Anthony Davis at the start of last season was blown out of proportion, which led to him getting a bad reputation and teams not wanting to sign him as a result. It all is a very odd segment of the interview but also shows Dwight’s lack of self-awareness, which has been a recurring trend throughout his career.
The 20-minutes-per-game request he has would be more minutes per game than he’s averaged in each of his last three seasons. He cleared that mark in Washington in 2018-19, but he only played nine games that season. You’d have to go back to 2017-18 in Charlotte to find a season where he averaged over 20 minutes per game for a full year.
Physically, it was pretty clear Dwight didn’t have it anymore last year. He barely could handle the workload asked of him on a night-to-night basis, let alone expanding that to 20 minutes.
The other interesting note from here, if Dwight is to be believed, is that the Lakers won’t give multi-year deals to players over 30. The team probably did tell Dwight this in some capacity as it doesn’t make sense to give him or the various older role players they were signing multi-year deals. I wouldn’t consider it a hard and steadfast rule the team is operating by, mainly because I don’t entirely trust everything Dwight says.
Like many other NBA stars before him and those that will come after him, it’s hard for Dwight to see the writing on the wall when it comes to his career. Lakers fans can thank him for being part of a title-winning team while also being thankful his time in purple and gold has come to an end.
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