The Lakers' decision to sign Dwight Howard was reportedly largely driven by Anthony Davis's desire to avoid playing in a traditional center role on a full-time basis, ESPN's Ramona Shelburne explained during an appearance on The Stephen A. Smith Show on Tuesday.
“The reason that Dwight is a Laker is because Anthony Davis doesn’t want to play the five," Shelburne said. "He doesn’t want to play against the big centers in the Western Conference. He needs a big dude next to him that can eat up some of those minutes and take some of that physical pounding from Nikola Jokic or [Jusuf] Nurkic or any of the centers you want to name out West."
She continued: "Anthony Davis doesn’t want to be that guy, and so he had a big say in whether or not Dwight was going to be cast in this role for them.”
The 6'11" big man played for Los Angeles during the 2012-13 season. The Lakers signed Howard again in late August after he finalized a buyout with Memphis. Los Angeles's interest in the Grizzlies center piqued after DeMarcus Cousins tore his left ACL on Aug. 12 while working out in Las Vegas. The Lakers had signed Cousins to a one-year deal in July after the team missed out on top target Kawhi Leonard.
Howard spent last season with the Wizards and averaged 12.8 points and 9.2 rebounds per game. Washington traded the 33-year-old veteran to Memphis on July 6. Howard joins JaVale McGree as the only other true center on the Lakers roster to share time with Davis down low.
Davis joined LeBron James in Los Angeles in June in a trade from the Pelicans.