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Warriors, seeking center depth, will reportedly meet with Dwight Howard

Warriors, seeking center depth, will reportedly meet with Dwight Howard

The Warriors are reportedly set to meet with an eight-time All-Star next week.

Dwight Howard, last seen playing professionally in Taiwan, is expected to come to the Bay Area and meet with Golden State about a backup center job, as first reported Friday by NBA insider Shams Charania.

Golden State has Kevon Looney locked in as the starting center after playing 82 games each of the last two seasons, but there are questions behind him in the rotation. Draymond Green will surely move up a position to take some center minutes, but at 33, the Warriors will want to avoid taxing him so heavily. Dario Šarić signed a one-year deal at the veteran minimum to join the Dubs this offseason, but he is more of a stretch big than a traditional center. Trayce Jackson-Davis, the Warriors’ second-round rookie, is another combo big man, but he’ll surely need time to adjust to the NBA.

Howard, 37, would fill the need for physicality at the backup center position, and he has relevant experience. During the Lakers’ 2020 run to the title in the NBA bubble, he played a key role, including as a physical irritant to Nikola Jokić in the West finals. Just as teams tinkered to beat the Warriors after their championships, Golden State knows it may need a way to beat Denver in the playoffs.

Prior to that run with Los Angeles, Howard had been one of the NBA’s brightest stars and, later, one of its most-mocked goats.

In Orlando, where he spent his first eight seasons from 2004-2012, Howard was a perennial contender to lead the league in rebounds and blocks. He and the Magic made a run to the 2009 NBA Finals with a team built around his interior presence, complemented by outside shooting.

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Once he was traded to L.A., though, things went off the rails. A team built around him, Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Pau Gasol was swept out of the playoffs, and his whimsical disposition chafed against Bryant’s serious demeanor. He signed with the Rockets to play alongside James Harden and struggled in Houston for three years as the league changed around him. After that stint, he bounced around the lower rungs of the Eastern Conference before finding a bench role with those champion Lakers.

Howard was able to fit in with those LeBron James-led Lakers long enough to earn a ring. The 2023-24 Warriors, who are already welcoming former rival Chris Paul, may present another personality test for Howard.

Golden State will open training camp on Oct. 2, a week from Monday.