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Report: Golden State may target Dwight Howard in free agency

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ProBasketballTalk's Kurt Helin says the Lakers have all the makings to repeat as NBA champions next season, but highlights the offseason questions that could stand in the way.

Dwight Howard literally brought his career back from the dead this season. He did not get a contract offer last offseason and appeared to be out of the league until DeMarcus Cousins’ torn ACL forced Lakers’ GM Rob Pelinka to pick up the phone. If not for that injury, who knows if Howard gets a chance somewhere, let alone the legitimate one the Lakers gave him.

Now, Howard is an NBA champion who played solidly for the Lakers all season. He accepted and played a role as a defender and rebounder — with no offense run for him — he had resisted at previous stops.

That play has earned him options this offseason — the Lakers want to bring Howard back, but there will be other suitors as well. Such as the Warriors, reports Shams Charania at The Athletic.

Dwight Howard, who was a pillar to the frontcourt this season, and the Lakers have mutual interest in a deal. Among the contenders also expected to have interest in Howard, sources say: The Golden State Warriors.

The Warriors have Marquese Chriss, the frontrunner to be the starting center, plus Kevon Looney if he can stay healthy. One of the offseason priorities for Golden State is depth at the five spot, and Dwight Howard would be a fit.

The Warriors also are not likely to come in with an offer much higher than the minimum — this is a team already paying big money to Stephen Curry ($40.2 million next season), Klay Thompson ($32.7 million), Andrew Wiggins ($27.5 million), and Draymond Green ($18.5 million), a team already poised to be in the tax. The Lakers likely would match the kind of offers the Warriors likely would make.

This is a pattern — win a title and a team’s role players get more expensive. Rajon Rondo is expected to opt-out of his contract for next season, and the same is true for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Then, of course, the Lakers will have to pay Anthony Davis whatever he wants. Now Howard will want to get paid a little. Los Angeles can afford all that, but it gets expensive.