Per Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Lakers are expected to request permission to speak to Howard, who is currently on the Memphis Grizzlies, and that there is mutual interest between Howard and Los Angeles.
The Lakers are in the market for a center since DeMarcus Cousins tore his ACL. They are also interested in veteran Joakim Noah, according to Charania.
Howard, 33, played in nine games for the Washington Wizards last season before he needed surgery for a gluteal injury. He averaged 12.8 points and 9.2 rebounds per game in his injury. The Wizards traded Howard to the Grizzlies in July but he is expected to be released by the team.
If the Lakers were to land Howard, it would be the eight-time All-Star’s second stint in Los Angeles.
Howard was traded to the Lakers before the start of the 2012-13 season, but things did not go according to plan. Los Angeles was not the juggernaut many expected them to be with Howard, who was recovering from offseason back surgery, and the center did not mesh well with fellow star Kobe Bryant.
Howard was upset he was not getting the ball enough, and averaged 17.1 points per game – his lowest mark since his rookie season. The team struggled with consistency all season and were swept in the first-round of the playoffs by the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs.
That offseason, Howard spurned the Lakers to sign with the Houston Rockets. The Lakers have not returned to the postseason since then.
Bringing back Howard would also mean adding another big personality to a team with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, but Howard is no longer the All-Star player he once was and can still serve as a complementary player to the other two stars.
Howard has also never won an NBA title and that is likely a priority for him in the latter half of his career and the Lakers could be his best path to winning a championship.