Veteran center Howard headed back to Lakers after buyout

Veteran center Dwight Howard appeared in just nine games with the Wizards last season.

Veteran center Dwight Howard is finalizing a contract buyout with the Memphis Grizzlies to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers, according to Shams Charania of Stadium.

The Lakers worked out both Howard and free agent center Joakim Noah on Thursday, and also brought in big man Mo Speights on Friday as they sought a replacement for DeMarcus Cousins, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Per Wojnarowski, Howard’s deal with the Lakers is non-guaranteed.

“Both Howard and Noah left impressions that they could be helpful to the team,” Wojnarowski reported.

Cousins suffered a torn ACL while working out in Las Vegas last week and is expected to miss the entire season. He signed a one-year deal with the Lakers this summer.

As Wojnarowski first noted, Howard is actually under contract with the Memphis Grizzlies. But the team gave him the green light to explore other opportunities. Howard had an expiring deal worth $5.6 million.

Howard, 33, appeared in just nine games with the Washington Wizards last season. After a Hall of Fame-type start to his career, he has faded recently, playing the Wizards, Charlotte Hornets, Atlanta Hawks and Houston Rockets in the previous four years alone. He spent one season with the Lakers (2012-13) before leaving for the Rockets in free agency.

Howard averaged 12.8 points and 9.2 rebounds last season.

The Lakers reportedly also had an interested in free agent center Marcin Gortat.

Along with that, former No. 2 overall pick Hasheem Thabeet was also hoping for a workout with the Lakers, a source told Ben Stinar of Amico Hoops.

“The Lakers have JaVale McGee¬†and will try to cobble together a center rotation that will include¬†Anthony Davis, although the organization would prefer that he play a majority of his minutes at power forward,” Wojnarowski reported earlier this week.