KEY POINTS

  • Dwight Howard may return to Los Angeles next season
  • Howard can resolve big problems at the center position of the Lakers
  • Wayne Ellington is also an option for the Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers may have to fill up their supporting cast with players who are fine with a minimum deal.

A lot of that will come from free agency–including former players who donned the signature purple and gold.

A couple of names have cropped up as potentially rejoining the Lakers next season. That list includes Dwight Howard, who is currently an unrestricted free agent.

In a roundtable discussion among Los Angeles Times reporters, the name of the eight-time All-Star was suggested by Broderick Turner.

Dwight Howard Dwight Howard of the LA Lakers dunks during an NBA game against Charlotte Hornets. Photo: LA Times

“Guess who might be back for a third time? Yup, Dwight Howard is ready to return and play center,” Turner stated.

Right now, the players remaining for the Lakers are LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook, Marc Gasol and Alfonzo McKinnie.

The Lakers need to fill in eight roster spots, and most will have to be minimum deals. The only other option is the taxpayer mid-level exception of $5.9 million.

Howard, who spent last season with the Philadelphia 76ers, played a key role when the Lakers won the title during the 2019-20 season.

Although he has had a history of jumping ship, it appears that Lakers’ fans would be open to welcoming him back for the third time.

Another player who could also return is Wayne Ellington. The 6-foot-4 guard played for the Lakers during the 2014-15 season, the rebuilding years of the franchise.

Since then, the 33-year-old has gone on to suit up for other teams like the Brooklyn Nets, Miami Heat, Detroit Pistons and New York Knicks.

Other names being suggested include Trevor Ariza and Andre Iguodala. As mentioned in a previous post, other veterans who could bite the bait include Carmelo Anthony, Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan.

Wayne Ellington #8 of the Detroit Pistons Wayne Ellington #8 of the Detroit Pistons Photo: Getty Images | Nic Antaya

But the key point here is money. In the case of DeRozan and Gay, it would be surprising to see them settle for a minimum deal.

Ever since the acquisition of Russell Westbrook, interest in possibly joining the Lakers got a big boost. But the catch is that it would mean agreeing to lesser wages in order to win an NBA ring.

Some may agree to a one-year sacrifice for a trip to the Promised Land. If that gamble pays off, they can recalibrate and raise their stock–assuming the Lakers win the 2021-22 NBA title.