The Los Angeles Lakers are facing a tough predicament right now. Apparently, Dwight Howard has yet to make up his mind about whether suiting up or not for the Orlando bubble. Should he decide to stay at home, the Lakers would be pretty thin at the center spot.
Howard is averaging 7.5 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.2 steals, and 1.2 blocks per game on 19.2 minutes and 73% shooting but his impact this season has gone way beyond the stat sheet. He's played lockdown defense like his days with the Orlando Magic and has developed a great rapport with the rest of the team.
Still, JaVale McGee is starting for them and he's proven to be a trustworthy big man in the playoffs. But, who could take Howard's 19.2 minutes per game if he opts out of the remainder of the season? Who should the Lakers sign? Let's break it down:
4. Larry Sanders
Larry Sanders has been out of the league since 2017 so he'd be a risky pick up, that's for sure. Still, he could give them much-needed rim protection thanks to his defensive expertise and wingspan. That assuming he wants to come back to the league.
Sanders was on the rise as one of the league's most promising defensive centers before he gave up on basketball. Perhaps all he needs is a positive environment and the opportunity of competing for an NBA Championship to fight his demons and fall back in love with the game.
3. Pau Gasol
There's no doubt in my mind that Pau Gasol's number 16 jersey will one day hang high in the rafters of the Staples Center. He's one of the all-time greats of the Lakers and he's stated that he's open to wearing the purple and gold one more time.
Gasol isn't ready to call it quits after entering the league in the 2001-02 season and it seems like he's finally back at full strength after his foot injury. Obviously, he's not going to be the same guy that helped them win back-to-back Championship this past decade but his rebounding could come very handy in the playoffs.
2. Kenneth Faried
I still don't know how Kenneth Faried hasn't been signed by any NBA team, especially given the shortage of rim-running big men and offensive-rebounding experts. I mean, the league expanded the rosters for the team's going to Orlando and his phone hasn't rung yet.
Faried is a never-ending source of energy and grit on both ends of the glass. He proved his worth the last time he was out there with the Houston Rockets and his presence could do wonders for the Lakers as Dwight Howard's replacement, even despite not being a rim protector.
1. DeMarcus Cousins
And last, but not least, we find DeMarcus Cousins. Boogie was rehabbing with the Lakers throughout the year and reportedly there's plenty of traction between both sides regarding a potential deal in the summer. Thus, why not speed things up and sign him right away?
Perhaps Cousins doesn't feel ready yet but he won't pass on the chance of winning an NBA Championship. He developed a nice chemistry with the rest of the team and could be a huge boost for them in limited minutes while he works his way back to his old self.