Lakers “Hopeful” They’ll Have Dwight Howard For NBA Restart

Lakers Dwight Howard at the "The Equalizer 2" film premiere in 2018. Photo by Matt Baron/REX/Shutterstock (9764592ad)

In recent weeks, the Los Angeles Lakers’ center Dwight Howard openly opposed NBA’s plan to resume the 2019/20 season amid the coronavirus pandemic and current social justice protest across the United States. However, Lakers are still hoping that Howard could end up deciding to join them in Orlando.

During a recent video call with reporters, Lakers’ head coach Frank Vogel said that the team decided not to look for a replacement for Howard and will keep the 34-year-old center on their travel list.

“We’ve been in communication with Dwight the whole way with supportive phone calls and text messages,” said Vogel. “We don’t know what the level of participation is going to be yet. He wants to play. We’re hopeful that he’s able to join us.”

The reason why Lakers are taking the risk of not having a substitute player is that Howard emerged as a valuable contributor for the team this year. He established himself as a strong presence on the defense while averaging 7.5 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game before the season was suspended due to the pandemic.

Reportedly, Howard himself remains undecided about whether to take part in the NBA restart or not.

LA Lakers previously lost starting guard Avery Bradley, who decided to sit out the rest of the season due to family reasons. Lakers ended up signing free agent JR Smith as his replacement.