Dwight Howard‘s second stint with the LA Lakers has quickly come to a close after some miscommunication in free agency. Howard will venture into the next chapter of his NBA career with the Philadelphia 76ers. Before he departs onto that route, the former All-Star big man has sent Lakers fans a final heartfelt message.
Dwight Howard chooses to sign with the 76ers in free agency
Dwight Howard entered free agency with aspirations of continuing his second tenure with the LA Lakers at least another season.
Things quickly unfolded in another manner as miscommunication with the franchise led to the situation heading south. Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported that the Lakers presented Howard with a potential plan of a one-year, $3.1 million offer with a defined role.
However, the 34-year-old took the concept as a legitimate offer, to which he initially tweeted out that he was returning to the team. Howard quickly deleted the tweet that saw him instead take a one-year, $2.6 million offer from the 76ers due to the Lakers making him wait for a response from ownership.
With that awkward situation behind the two sides, the former three-time Defensive Player of the Year has sent Lakers fans a strong message.
Dwight Howard sends personal message to Lakers fans
The first few days in free agency have been a whirlwind for many players, which saw Dwight Howard end his second Lakers’ tenure after one season.
Howard was a significant factor off the bench that provided a vital defensive presence in the paint and stability in the frontcourt. Following the decision to join the 76ers, the former All-Star big man took to Instagram to voice his appreciation for getting the opportunity to play with the franchise again.
“La thank you. It was truly a pleasure being back in la and winning a championship,” Howard said via Instagram.”I am very grateful to the Buss family, the Rambis family, the Pelinka’s and the entire laker organization. Lakernation. I love you.”
Before Howard signed with the Lakers, there wasn’t any real belief that he would ever play with them again. He made the most of the second opportunity as he accepted the bench role, where he played some pivotal minutes in the playoffs and helped anchor their frontcourt defensively.
Although his tenure with the team was cut short, he cemented himself with better graces with Lakers fans. He has repaired his image and reputation that was damaged after the first stint. His legacy will have a chapter tied to LA because of the NBA title that he won that overshadows any previous mishap.
LA’s potential replacement options
Dwight Howard’s departure now pushes the Lakers toward having to find a replacement.
Several other big men have quickly gone off the market, but the franchise may be circling another former All-Star. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Lakers are making a strong push to land Marc Gasol.
The veteran big man isn’t the player he once was but can provide some much-needed frontcourt stability. The former Defensive Player of the Year is still a factor defensively while he can stretch the floor from beyond the arc and remains among the best passing big men.
LA can offer Gasol a Veteran’s minimum salary, while the appealing part of the equation is the chance to compete for another NBA title. The Toronto Raptors are also reportedly making a strong push to keep Gasol.
If the Lakers lose out on Gasol, other viable big men such as DeMarcus Cousins and Hassan Whiteside remain available in free agency. Cousins is the more likely of the two, given his time with the team last season despite tearing his ACL before the 2019-20 season.