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Lakers sign center Dwight Howard

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Los Angeles has found their DeMarcus Cousins replacement

San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Lakers - Game Four Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Dwight Howard is heading back to the Los Angeles Lakers. After securing a buyout from the Memphis Grizzlies, Howard agreed to a deal with the Lakers. This has been in the works for a few days, but Howard only just now officially cleared waivers.

He’ll provide important center depth after the unfortunate ACL tear that former Golden State Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins suffered earlier in the month. The Lakers are short on centers, depending on how they use Anthony Davis.

One of the top players in the league, Davis has stated a preference to play at power forward, not at center. That would put only Howard and JaVale McGee as proven options at the center position.

That said, Davis has spent much of his career playing center (he spent 96% of last season there, according to Basketball-Reference), and it’s certainly the best spot for him in Los Angeles. So if coach Frank Vogel opts to have the superstar play primarily at the 5, then Howard and McGee’s roles won’t be quite as prominent.

Howard has had maturity issues in the past, at nearly every stop. As such, the Lakers did a lot of vetting before making the deal, and they’re not committing any money to the former MVP candidate.

Howard played for the Lakers for just one year, in 2012-13. The team had high expectations after adding Howard and Steve Nash to a core that already featured Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Metta World Peace.

But it was a disappointing year for the Lakers, who were swept out of the first round of the playoffs, despite their championship aspirations. The chemistry and behind-the-scenes situations were rather ugly, and Howard was in the middle of all of it. Still, he put together a strong season statistically, averaging 17.1 points, 12.4 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks per game, while making the All-Star team and the All-NBA Third Team.

Since leaving the Lakers, the eight-time All-Star has played for the Houston Rockets, Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, and Washington Wizards. Drama seems to have followed him at all stops, which the Lakers will try and put an end to.