Philadelphia 76ers: Dwight Howard? Back on the Lakers? Good luck!

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia 76ers didn’t initially enter 2020’s free agency period looking to sign Dwight Howard; it just sort of… happened.

Initially a borderline lock to return to the Los Angeles Lakers after winning the Disney Bubble ‘chip a few weeks prior, Howard’s return got mucked up in the system when Rob Pelinka and company became enamored by the idea of stealing away the reigning Sixth Man of the Year away from their cross-Staples Center rivals for the low, low price of the mid-level exception.

This presented Doc Rivers, Joel Embiid, and… Rajon Rondo(?) with an opportunity to pitch Howard on an opportunity to take his talents to the City of Brotherly Love, where the fans are loud, and the Frosties are free, assuming you miss a pair of second-half free throws, of course.

But now, Howard’s East Coast road trip may be coming to an end, as recent reports suggest he may be returning to the West Coast once more in the hopes of securing another ring alongside LeBron, AD, and newly acquired point guard Russell Westbrook.

Win a ring? With that roster’s spacing? Good luck with that, Superman.

Dwight Howard might regret leaving the Philadelphia 76ers for LA.

More from Section 215

In the NBA, you need to shoot 3 pointers to win games.

I know, I know, seemingly every season, a team will try to prove that assertion wrong and throw things back to the pre-Splash Brothers-era of hoops that Gregg Popovich seems to desperately, desperately miss, but time after time, it just doesn’t work.

Need proof? Look no further than the 2019-20 Philadelphia 76ers, who boasted one of the least attractive offensive attacks you’ll see in a modern-day NBA game and were ultimately broken up, but not before firing their head coach and effectively demoting their GM in the process.

Alternatively, you could look at the 2021-22 Boston Celtics, who appear pretty heckbent on rebuilding the Sixers’ 2019-20 supporting cast around Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, but alas, that’s a story for another, well, story (this one, in fact).

So, why, I ask rhetorically, would the Los Angeles Lakers opt to trade away basically their entire supporting cast save Dennis Schroder, Talen Horton-Tucker, and Marc Gasol, plus their 2021 first-round pick to secure Russell Westbrook, one of the least efficient shooters in the NBA? And why, with that in mind, would the team then re-sign Howard, who has made 14 3 pointers in his 17 year NBA career?

… ticket sales?

Don’t get me wrong, Howard is not a bad player. While he gets a bad rep for his willingness to pick up personal fouls at a freakish clip, Howard is still one of the most efficient rebounders in the NBA on a per-minute basis, and he can put up 10-plus points about twice a month. On a team looking to play fast and pick up points with a pick-and-roll-happy point guard like, well, like Westbrook, Howard could be a viable number two center when paired up with four shooters, but once the shooting abilities of his on-court partners come into question, this starts to get ugly real quick.

Remember, Howard and Ben Simmons were by far the Sixers’ least efficient pairing last season regardless of qualifiers, sporting a -74 +/- in 368 minutes of action. While LeBron James and Westbrook are surely better 3 point shooters than Simmons, as basically every player in the NBA is, if we’re being honest, they still aren’t ideal spacers to keep the halfcourt offense rolling, especially in the postseason, where games start to slow down.

If Howard’s cool with playing the same role he was tasked with in Philadelphia during his third stint with the Lakers, then cool, I imagine the team would be more than willing to using him as a regular season, big-ball reliever behind Gasol and Anthony Davis but other than that, this move feels at best lateral if not a downgrade from his 2020-21 role depending on how Frank Vogel opts to deploy his centers this fall.

But hey, at 35-years-old, Howard’s NBA career will be over before we know it. If he wants to play out his final years in the warm, sunny climate of Southern California like a 75-year-old retiree, who are we to judge?

Next. Swapping out Evan Fournier for Josh Richardson is a choice. dark

So Dwight Howard, excentric, enigmatic, Dwight Howard, if you do end up back in Los Angeles, I hope it’s one heck of a Hollywood ending… assuming it doesn’t come at the expense of the Philadelphia 76ers. While we’ll miss your bubbly personality on the sidelines of the Wells Fargo Center, at least fans can feel comfortable knowing that there are numerous Wendys across the greater Los Angeles Area, including a particularly good one off of Sunset in Hollywood. It’s nice there; I think you’d like it.