Lakers took the first step towards restocking their depleted roster in the wake of the blockbuster Russell Westbrook deal, agreeing to contracts with veterans Dwight Howard, Trevor Ariza and Wayne Ellington in the opening hours of free agency on Tuesday (PHT).
All three have played for the Lakers before, with Howard (2020) and Ariza (2009) helping them boost their championship haul and Ellington serving for a single season in 2014-15.
This will actually be Howard’s third stint in purple and gold, following his runs in 2012-13 and 2019-20. He served as a key reserve for the Lakers during their most recent championship in support of superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
With the Lakers agreeing to send Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Montrezll Harrell to Washington in exchange for Westbrook, James and Davis had been the lone holdovers from that title team until Howard’s decision to return following a lone season in Philadelphia.
Ariza, 36, averaged 9.4 points and 4.8 rebounds points in 30 appearances with Miami last season, his 10th team in 17 NBA campaigns.
Ellington, 33, enjoyed one of the better years of his journeyman career last season in Detroit, shooting 42.2% on 3-pointers while averaging 9.6 points per game.
Along with James, Davis, Marc Gasol and the incoming Westbrook, Monday’s additions will give the Lakers seven players under contract for next season. They also have a team option on deep reserve Alfonzo McKinnie.