The Memphis Grizzlies have bought out Dwight Howard, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports, freeing the big man to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers when he clears waivers.
Howard’s deal will be non-guaranteed, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN adds, giving the Lakers leverage to ensure that the environment they’re building in the team’s locker room remains in tact.
Howard, Wojnarowski notes, has said that he’s willing to take on a lesser role in the past but the Lakers will need to see him make a change in how he conducts himself.
Nonetheless, Howard remains a dominant big man, even as he approaches his mid-30s and is just two seasons removed from averaging 16.6 points and 12.5 rebounds per game as a member of the Charlotte Hornets.
Howard was acquired by the Grizzlies in July when the team saved $3 million by flipping C.J. Miles to Washington in exchange for the injured center. The plan all along was for Memphis to waive Howard and the emergence of Los Angeles as an eager suitor may have helped the franchise work out preferable buyout terms with Howard’s camp.
Presently, financial details of the buyout are not known. The Grizzlies are close to the luxury tax but not at risk to cross the threshold even if they eat the entirety of Howard’s 2019-20 season, so they won’t be obligated to use the stretch provision.
Removing Howard from the team’s roster drops Memphis from 16 guaranteed players down to 15.