Lakers Trade Rumors: Why LA Need to Land Dwight Howard Before Trade Deadline

Matt Overing@@MOveringContributor IIIFebruary 29, 2012

ORLANDO, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers and the Western Conference looks to pass as he is defended by Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic and the Eastern Conference during the 2012 NBA All-Star Game at the Amway Center on February 26, 2012 in Orlando, Florida.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers need to make a move. Currently sixth in the Western Conference with a 20-14 record, the Lakers have shown inconsistency throughout the season, primarily on the road (6-12). A blockbuster trade for Dwight Howard would spark this team and leave the Lakers sitting pretty for the future.

Peter Vecsey of the New York Post states "...some deals may actually be getting close to finalization and the Lakers are in middle of them." With the inclusion of Pau Gasol, the trade talks would rapidly progress.

Currently, Los Angeles is unwilling to send both Gasol and Andrew Bynum to the Orlando Magic for Howard. And for good reason. Sending two frontcourt players for one wouldn't help Kobe Bryant at all.

However, the addition of a third team could help Orlando and Los Angeles get a deal done. The Houston Rockets are still interested in Gasol, and the Lakers have held talks with Cleveland for Ramon Sessions.

No matter who the third team will be, it appears that the Lakers will need to part with both Gasol and Bynum to secure Howard. The addition of a third party could land Luis Scola, Raymond Felton, or Ramon Sessions with the Lakers alongside D12.

The key for Los Angeles is to not miss an opportunity to land one of the most dominant centers in the history of the game. Missing out on two superstars in a single year would hurt the future of this team, and as invincible as Kobe may seem, his dominance won't last.

Howard is seven years younger than Bryant and would most likely take a backseat to Kobe for the next few years. Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated says this idea doesn't interest Howard.

He wants, as one source said, to "be Kobe Bryant, not be with Kobe Bryant."

If Howard expects to be the top dog wherever he goes, he might as well cross off LA from his wish list. This has been Kobe Bryant's team for the past decade, and that won't change. But the Lakers would be all-Howard all day when Bryant decides to stop averaging 25 points per game.

The most important factor to Howard should be which team gives him the best chance to win, and that is almost certainly the Los Angeles Lakers. They have the experience of a playoff team, something the Nets can't say. 

Howard would give the Lakers championship-caliber talent on both ends of the floor, and a trade could be made to give the Lakers a stronger supporting cast around their dynamic duo of Kobe and D12.

The most important part of this trade could be what it would bring the Lakers in the future: a chance to land Deron Williams. Hadarii Jones of Bleacher Report wrote a fantastic article about the benefit of having Howard in LA, and how it could be used to land Williams this offseason.

Jones also states how unlikely it is that Laker management could pull both Williams and Howard before the trade deadline, but snagging Howard would be a key factor in the recruitment of Williams to Los Angeles.

It should be noted that an addition of Dwight Howard before the trade deadline would not be without shortcomings.

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 20:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts after a 103-92 win over the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center on February 20, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees th
Harry How/Getty Images

Howard is one of the worst free throw shooters in the league, and the Lakers are already below the league average for free throw percentage at 74.2 percent as a team.

Also, the inclusion of a third team may not grant Los Angeles a point guard that they desperately need.

Jameer Nelson isn't a young point guard anymore, Raymond Felton is having an awful season compared to his time with Denver, and Ramon Sessions is the definition of a poor defender.

Couple that with the chance that LA may not land Deron Williams if they do land Dwight, and you get a team with two superstars and an aging supporting cast.

Giving up your second- and third-leading scorers could be catastrophic for team chemistry. Lakers management has a tough task in determining the value of Howard, and more importantly, their prospects to win now and in the future.

A trade for D12 could be the remedy for a better Laker team this year and in the future. There will be uncertainty in every trade, even more so in a trade with such magnitude.

Pulling the trigger for Howard needs to be done to rejuvenate the aging Lakers and give the franchise the possibility of a brighter future.