The former three-time Defensive Player of the Year left approximately $2.6 million of his $5.6-million guaranteed salary on the table by agreeing to a buyout with the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday, sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
The 33-year-old still has an opportunity to make himself whole, however. Howard's $2.6-million veteran's minimum deal would become guaranteed if he sticks with the Lakers through Jan. 10, the date all contracts are guaranteed through the remainder of the season.
But if Howard wears out his welcome with the Lakers - which he did in recent stops with the Washington Wizards, Charlotte Hornets, and Atlanta Hawks - he risks being sent packing at minimal expense to L.A.
Of course, the $2.6 million Howard walked away from pales in comparison to the former superstar's career earnings. He's already made well over $200 million in salary from the NBA without accounting for his endorsements and investments.
For the Grizzlies, the team-friendly buyout amplifies what was already a cost-cutting measure. Memphis now only owes Howard $3 million, which amounts to $5.7 million in savings after the team traded C.J. Miles and his $8.7-million salary to the Wizards for the big man, according to ESPN's Bobby Marks.