Dwight Howard will play in the 2019-20 NBA season restart with the Los Angeles Lakers and will donate the rest of his salary to the ‘Breath Again’ campaign.
According to Howard, this was not an easy decision after dealing with his son’s mother’s death along with racism and police brutality in the United States.
“I have a contractual obligation to my teammates, to my fans, the Lakers, the organization, and everyone. But at the same time, I also have an obligation to my family and my community,” Howard said. “Yes, I will be joining my team in Orlando.”
As Howard believes basketball — or any entertainment for that matter — could be a distraction, he will donate the rest of his salary to his ‘Breathe Again’ campaign.
“During my time in the bubble, I will use that time to talk about Breathe Again, and I’m going to use my salary — all the money… the paychecks that I’ll be getting from going down in the bubble — to help push this ‘Breathe Again,’ push our movement and just make sure that people don’t forget about what’s going on in our society.”
Throughout the process, general manager Rob Pelinka and head coach Frank Vogel showed a lot of support for Howard but were optimistic he would play.
When the Lakers submitted their official roster on July 1, they included Howard, which meant they could not sign a replacement player if he ultimately opted out.
For Howard, it has been a difficult time since the season was canceled on March 11, but it appears he has found a balance in his personal and professional life.
For the Lakers, one of their advantages has been their size with Howard, Anthony Davis, and JaVale McGee en route to the best record in the Western Conference.
Although the Lakers will certainly miss Avery Bradley, they ideally have enough backcourt depth to overcome his decision to opt out after signing JR Smith.
However, if Howard had opted out, it would have been difficult to replace him as McGee only averages 16.8 minutes per game with no real options in free agency.
With Howard joining the Lakers in Orlando, FL, they have a legitimate chance to win the 2020 NBA Finals, but there are numerous factors that could impact this result.