NBA

Howard on Lakers return: The past doesn't matter

By Sports Desk September 04, 2019

Dwight Howard said the past does not matter as he looks ahead to his second spell with the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Lakers brought back Howard on a nonguaranteed, one-year deal last month after DeMarcus Cousins tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).

Howard, who spent one rocky season with the team in 2012-13, discussed his decision to return to the Lakers on Wednesday.

"I never had any ill will toward any of the fans here in LA," the 33-year-old said. "I loved this city from the first moment I've been here and started playing in the NBA.

"It was never nothing against anybody here [on] the team or anything like that, it was just a decision I made. I love this city. I love playing in L.A. I'm back here so none of that stuff in the past even really matters to me anymore. I think we all have a fresh start."

Howard came to the Lakers the first time with high expectations. But the team struggled and he clashed with team-mates, leading him to eventually leave and join the Houston Rockets. 

"It's been six years, in 2020 it'll be seven years. ... I'm big on numbers," Howard said. "Seven is for new beginnings ... I'm looking forward to having a fresh start with the fans and stuff like that. Show them my only dedication is to putting another banner up here in Los Angeles."

Howard was a star early in his career with the Orlando 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 Memphis Grizzlies, who acquired him in a deal with the Washington Wizards in the offseason.

The Lakers will be the fifth team Howard has suited up for in the last five seasons. 

"We're trying to win a championship," Howard said. "And you know, I think that everybody wants to know what level of commitment that I have, and what everybody else on the team has.

"So, I definitely understand it. I'm very committed to helping this team win a championship. It's not just an interest of mine. It's something that I'm super-committed to. And I'd rather just let my actions speak louder than any words that I can tell you." 

The Lakers rebuilt their roster when they landed Anthony Davis in a trade with the New Orleans 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 Los Angeles Clippers.

Los Angeles then signed 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.​

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