Anthony Davis apparently wanted the Lakers to sign Dwight Howard.
The 26-year-old star had a "big say" in the team bringing in the center on a non-guaranteed, one-year deal after DeMarcus Cousins tore his ACL last month, ESPN's Ramona Shelburne reported during a recent appearance on “The Stephen A. Smith Show.”
Shelburne added (via the Silver Screen & Roll):
“The reason that Dwight is a Laker is because Anthony Davis doesn’t want to play the five. He doesn’t want to play against the big centers in the Western Conference. He needs a big dude next to him that can eat up some of those minutes and take some of that physical pounding from Nikola Jokic or (Jusuf) Nurkic or any of the centers you want to name out West ... Anthony Davis doesn’t want to be that guy, and so he had a big say in whether or not Dwight was going to be cast in this role for them.”
Howard, who previously spent one season with the Lakers in 2012-13, was a star early in his career with the Magic but has regressed significantly since then. The eight-time All-Star's path to return to Los Angeles was cleared after he received a buyout from the Grizzlies, who acquired him in a deal with the Wizards this summer. The Lakers will be the fifth team Howard has suited up for in the last five seasons.
"We're definitely confident he can play the role we've laid out for him," Lakers coach Frank Vogel said about Howard during a recent interview with Spectrum SportsNet. "He's coming to the Lakers at a very different time in his career. ... He's later in his career now, he's a different person, has a different mindset. We feel really good about where he's at as a person.
"He's going to serve a different role. It's going to be more of a role-player type of role, as opposed to being the lead. He understands that. He's excited about playing that type of role on this team and what we can accomplish as a group. So, we're excited about what he's going to bring to the table."
The Lakers rebuilt their roster this summer when they acquired Davis in a trade with the Pelicans to pair with LeBron James. They created cap space to add a third max player but missed out on Kawhi Leonard, who signed with the Clippers.
Los Angeles then inked Avery Bradley, Danny Green, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, JaVale McGee, Quinn Cook, Rajon Rondo, Alex Caruso and Cousins to deals.
McGee and Howard are the only two healthy centers on the Lakers’ roster.