LOS ANGELES • The Los Angeles Lakers may turn to one of their former players, Dwight Howard, to fill the hole left by the potentially season-ending injury to four-time All-Star centre DeMarcus Cousins.
Howard, who spent a year with the team in the 2012-13 season, is expected to have his contract bought out by Memphis Grizzlies, his current employers, and the eight-time National Basketball Association All-Star has a mutual interest in returning to LA, according to sports website The Athletic.
ESPN reported on Sunday that the Grizzlies allowed Howard's representatives to speak with other teams. The report added that the Lakers' interest is mostly "due diligence" for now.
Howard averaged 17.1 points and 12.4 rebounds for the Lakers that season, but they finished 45-37 and were swept by the San Antonio Spurs in the first round play-offs.
The 33-year-old, heading into his 16th season, is coming off a shortened season in which he played only nine games for the Washington Wizards owing to back surgery and injuries.
But before last year, he missed just 20 games over three seasons and his career averages of 17.4 points, 12.6 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game are the best.
Cousins, 29, had signed a one-year deal with the Lakers in free agency after a season with the Golden State Warriors.
He tore his left anterior cruciate ligament during a workout last Thursday, with the typical nine-month recovery window putting his entire season in jeopardy.
This is his third serious leg injury in 18 months.