Dwight Howard announced late last night that he would join his Lakers during the remainder of the season. The former No.1 pick confirmed this information while appearing in Don Lemon’s talk show on CNN.
Howard, who recently revealed that he might opt-out for the restart, had some concerns about his health and also, wanted to focus more on the current battle for social justice.
Apart from that, Howard experienced a personal tragedy, as the mother of his son, Melissa Rios passed away due to an epileptic seizure on March 27. Since the start of the hiatus, Howard spent his time in Georgia taking care of the six-yer old David. Apart from the above-mentioned reasons for skipping the season restart, his family matters were also one of the factors why Howard wanted to sit out.
All that changed now, with the 34-year old deciding to join the Lakers in Orlando. If everything goes well, the purple and gold should arrive in Florida this Thursday, and Howard should be one of the passengers.
Dwight Howard says he will be joining the Lakers in Orlando.
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) July 7, 2020
He also added that he wants to continue his fight for social and racial justice and that he plans to donate the remaining part of his salary in charity. That sum is estimated to $700,000, and all of that money will be transferred to his D12 Foundation, that is Breathe Again campaign.
Howard has good memories regarding Orlando. He would establish himself as one of the best centers in the league there, after being picked first by the Magic at the 2004 NBA Draft.
The Magic reached one NBA Finals with him back in 2009. During his time in Florida, Howard became arguably the most dominant center in the league, earning all of his 5 All-NBA First Team honors, three straight NBA Defensive Player of the Year awards and also grabbing the NBA Rookie of the Year award.
Since he joined the Lakers at the start of this season, Howard posted 7.5 points, 7.4 boards, and 1.2 blocks per night, having 73.2%, which is his career-high. He isn’t the starter anymore, but comes off the bench and has special assignments, and also tightens up the defensive part of the Lakers’ game.