The aftermath of power forward/center DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins’ torn ACL injury left the Los Angeles Lakers in a bit of a pickle. Cousins suffered the injury in practice, while recovering from a back injury. Moreover, Cousins initially stated that he did not want to play center, and will now not be playing at all next season.
With the return of LeBron James and the arrival of Anthony Davis, the Lakers seemed to be the most talented in the West. The answer to the loss of Cousins was acquiring Memphis Grizzlies center Dwight Howard. Howard was offered a one-year, non-guaranteed contract with the Lakers.Given how Howard’s first stint with the Lakers went, he wasn’t exactly the obvious choice.
Although he was fallen from grace, Dwight Howard was once a superstar: five-time All-Defensive Team member, eight-time All-Star, and three-time Defensive Player. Howard career averages are 17.4 PPG, 12.6 RPG, and 1.5 APG, don’t forget to factor in the 130+ games he did not play in his last five seasons due to various injuries. From locker room issues, lackadaisical performance, and injuries Howard has bounced around for seven seasons. This merger was a shock to many fans, due to better qualified free agents.
Three-time champion Andre Iguodala was traded from the Golden State Warriors to the Memphis Grizzlies for Julian Washburn, which made no logical sense,except to have a younger and less expensive player on the floor. It is no secret Andre Iguodala was the sixth man to the Golden State Warriors’ lineup. Although debatably a better postseason player, Iguodala was an integral factor for the last five consecutive NBA Finals. In 2015, Igoudala won the NBA Finals MVP for his efforts in guarding LeBron James. Averaging 12.1 PPG, he never had to score doubles in order to allow other teammates to control the offense. Andre Iguodala is now the highest paid Grizzly, but shortly after the trade, there was scuttlebutt of a contract buyout that would afford Iguodala to become a free agent with the hopes of landing with a contender.
Meanwhile, 16-year veteran small forward Carmelo Anthony is still a free agent. With concerns of past knee injury, teams have been reluctant to sign the 10-time All-Star. No, Anthony is not in his prime anymore, but has he had the fair opportunity to showcase his talents? The 2018 trial run with Houston Rockets was only ten games. The New York Knicks only acquired a handful of All-Stars to assist Anthony.
Memphis Grizzlies center Joakim Noah has produced better impacts for the team. Last season, Noah averaged 7.1 PPG, 5.7 RPG, and 2.1 AST with 42 games, while Howard only played nine games last season. Without question, Noah is a better team player. Noah’s accolades include 2014 Defensive Player of the Year, 2014 All-NBA 1st Team, 2x All-Defensive 1st Team, All-Defensive 2nd Team, and he was part of a championship contender in Chicago.
The irony of two of the three players whom the Lakers should have considered playing for Memphis Grizzlies is laughable. The Lakers were wise in the fact that Howard’s contract is non-guaranteed. This gives Howard the chance to prove himself and keep his bravado in check. No matter the predictions of Howard’s future performances, the three listed would have been more reasonable to the Lakers’ roster.
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