Former Lakers All-Star Signs Overseas While Eyeing NBA Return

As ex-Lakers big man Dwight Howard continues to work toward an NBA return, he's decided to continue his basketball career overseas with the Philippines' Strong Group. The team will compete at the 2024 Dubai International Basketball Championship.

Dwight Howard will continue his basketball career with Strong Group Philippines to continue his basketball career.
Dwight Howard will continue his basketball career with Strong Group Philippines to continue his basketball career. / Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
facebooktwitterreddit

Dwight Howard hasn't played an NBA game since April 8, 2022. That was nearly two years ago and while some players would let that fact dissuade them from a potential return, that isn't the case for the eight-time All-Star, who believes that he can still contribute at basketball's highest level.

Even though none of the 30 teams have called his number yet despite the 2023-24 campaign nearly being halfway over, Howard is still keeping his foot on the gas. In fact, his latest basketball-related decision is just the latest stop on the road to a potential NBA return.

Dwight Howard NBA Return Rumors

The Athletic's Shams Charania reported on Tuesday morning that Howard has signed a contract to play with the Philippines' Strong Group. The team is competing at the 2024 Dubai International Basketball Championship, which is scheduled to begin on Jan. 19 before concluding nine days later.

Playing overseas isn't anything new for the former three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year. Howard spent the 2022-23 campaign with Taoyuan Leopards in Taiwain, averaging 23.2 points (on 50.0% shooting), 16.2 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks on 34.9 minutes played across 20 games.

Howard's Taiwanese performance was good enough to earn him a tryout with the Golden State Warriors in the preseason. Unfortunately, things didn't go the veteran center's way as the Warriors opted not to sign him in favor of roster flexibility.

Nevertheless, Howard's performance at the Dubai International Basketball Championship will determine just how much he has left in the tank. Again, it's been almost two years since he averaged 6.2 points and 5.9 rebounds while playing 60 games with the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2021-22 NBA season.

He might not be an everyday starter and pereniall All-Star anymore, but he's still an experience veteran with a championship ring. Some teams just can't put a value on that even if it's only in a bench role.

Back in July, the 38-year-old told Complex's Zion Olojede that he'd be interested in signing with the Lakers, Warriors, Miami Heat, Sacramento Kings, and Atlanta Hawks. Time will tell if one of those teams (or anyone else) will be desperate enough to acquire Howard's services as the campaign continues.