With Pau Gasol's uncertain status as the March 15 trade deadline approaches, the Lakers are one of the big stories in the NBA. The Lakers have lost two straight games to two of the five worst teams in basketball: the Detroit Pistons and the Washington Wizards.
Against the Pistons, Kobe Bryant scored 22 points, but took 26 shots. Against the Wizards, Bryant took 31 shots to score 30 points. Kobe's shot selection has been questioned in the past, but it's probably under more pressure now because Kobe isn't playing in the triangle offense anymore.
Again, the point-guard issues continue to hinder the Lakers. Derek Fisher is close to finished as a starting-caliber NBA point guard. The Steve Blake contract has not worked out so far. Darius Morris was just sent to the D-League.
The Lakers may be a first-round exit playoff team with the roster that they have now. The Lakers need to make a move and the only one that guarantees that the Lakers will win a title this season is to go all in for Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard.
Howard may be traded, and the Lakers have to make a move, period. Pau Gasol needs to go and if you have to give up Andrew Bynum, seriously consider it.
Bynum has finally become an elite center, but what's to say that he won't get hurt again? Howard has been a monster ever since he has been in the NBA. Yes, I know Howard would prefer to play in New Jersey so that he won't forever be linked to Shaq as the best centers in the league at the time who used Orlando as a stepping stone to Hollywood.
Howard should realize that whatever he does, he will be linked to Shaq. Both men will be looked at as great players who used Orlando as stepping stones to other places. It doesn't matter if Howard goes to Los Angeles or not.
Kobe would face questions about how he could co-exist with Howard. I don't see much of an issue between these two because Kobe is 33 now, not 23. Kobe is playing at an MVP level right now, but to finish the job in June, he needs someone he knows that he can depend on—Dwight Howard would definitely become that guy.
Orlando and the Lakers can swap bad contracts for bad contracts, meaning Hedo Turkoglu for Metta World Peace. Jameer Nelson has been so underwhelming this season that Orlando may consider throwing him into the deal.
Granted, pieces like this one by Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Times point out that Orlando steadfastly refuses to trade Howard. The point is, though, nothing else out there guarantees the Lakers anything more than a playoff series win. I'm on record talking about the Lakers, so I'm not talking about that.
Minnesota offered Michael Beasley, but the Lakers smartly rejected that. Beasley is not the the type of player that you want in a structured system like the Lakers'. Houston point guard Kyle Lowry has become one of the West's best point guards. He would be a nice upgrade, but defensively he's not stopping Russell Westbrook. Kevin Martin would be a nice addition because he can score 30 any night, but he's having a down season and doesn't defend. Deron Williams would be a great addition, but again he doesn't defend.
The Lakers' only shot to won a title this year rests on them being able to swing a mega-deal for Dwight Howard. That would give the Lakers two of the 10 best players in the NBA, and the team would have shooters like Turkoglu, Jason Kapono and Troy Murphy to knock down shots. Matt Barnes and Josh McRoberts could be the energy guys that play defense.
The Lakers could make it back to the finals.
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