Although Dwight Howard reportedly has his sights set on New Jersey one way or another as Yahoo! Sports reports, the Lakers should still be willing to assemble a deal for the disgruntled center regardless of the superstar center’s future plans.
Howard should be viewed as a rental at this point, but if it means the Lakers can boost themselves into the upper echelon of the Western Conference, giving up a piece like Pau Gasol or even the prized Andrew Bynum might be worth it at this point.
Currently, Los Angeles finds themselves on the championship contention bubble. While Kobe Bryant is having another career-defining year and Bynum is finally living up to his highly touted NBA potential, the "Lakeshow" hasn’t been as dominant of a squad like they were during their NBA Finals runs. As Bryant’s prime is in its dénouement, so are the Lakers' championship hopes.
Perhaps Dwight Howard could lift the Lakers back into a perennial championship-caliber club. Getting Bynum in exchange for Howard at this point would have to be a full-on win for Orlando at this point.
Bynum is having the defining season of his career avoiding injury as well as averaging 17.7 points, 12.6 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game, earning him the first All-Star berth in his sixth NBA season. Bynum can now be considered one of the elite big men in the NBA.
And while the Lakers might be hesitant to move Bynum for a rental considering his recent success, he is no Superman. Howard might bring the same star power (if not more) to the City of Angels that Shaquille O’Neal brought with him when he opted to ditch the Magic for the Lakers in 1996.
Who knows? If the Lakers go on to win another Larry O’Brien Trophy with Howard in the lineup, and Howard’s mindset is truly on winning a championship, he might elect to stay with the Lakers beyond 2012.
We’ll find out more by March 15.