Los Angeles Lakers are considered among the favorites to win the 2020 NBA championship following the arrival of Anthony Davis to partner LeBron James. They also signed DeMarcus Cousins and Danny Green in free agency but the LA franchise has suffered a setback before training camp has commenced after losing Cousins to a major injury.

The Lakers center was expected to be a certain starter for the Lakers alongside James, Davis, Green and Kyle Kuzma but Cousins suffered an ACL injury playing a practice game in Las Vegas last week. The injury was confirmed by the Lakers and with the likelihood of surgery, he could miss almost the entire 2019-20 campaign.

Cousins’ injury leaves the Lakers with just JaVale McGee to provide cover at the center, which has forced the franchise to look at options in free agency. Joakim Noah is a player being considered by the Lakers with the 34-year-old currently a free agent after playing last season with Memphis Grizzlies.

Dwight Howard
Dwight Howard #12 of the Charlotte Hornets looks on against the Washington Wizards during the second half at Capital One Arena in Washington DC., March 31, 2018. Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The former Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks center played the second half of the 2018-19 season for the Grizzlies and in the 42 games played he averaged 7.1 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists. He also recorded two impressive double-doubles against New Orleans Pelicans and Los Angeles Clippers.

The other player on the Lakers’ radar is former center and 8-time All-Star Dwight Howard. The veteran, who played one season in the purple and gold during the 2012-13 campaign, is currently signed with the Grizzlies but they are expected to release him from his contract before the start of the new campaign.

The Athletic’s Shams Charania reports that the Lakers have been granted permission to hold talks with Howard about a potential move to the Staples Center this summer. Even if he agrees to the switch he is likely to play backup to McGee, who will be the starting center unless Frank Vogel decides to play Davis as the no. 5, which the former Pelicans power forward is not keen to do.

“The Lakers have been patient in approach since Cousins' injury, and another accomplished veteran center on the market is Joakim Noah. Howard is expected to be eventually released by Memphis,” Charania wrote. “The Grizzlies are granting the Los Angeles Lakers permission to speak with Dwight Howard, league sources tell The Athletic.”