No franchise is in need of a superstar more than the Los Angeles Lakers. In a league controlled by superstars it always appears the Lakers have find one. However, time and suspect personnel decisions have dealt Los Angeles a kidney shot that may take a few rounds to recover from or so it seems.
For years the Lakers have been “Emperors of the League” mainly because their superstars were merely superior to those they faced. Los Angeles has always found a way to manipulate the system to secure the best of the best. In the fifties the Lakers had the best starting five. Then in the sixties
they switched to positional dominance, which gave us Elgin, Wilt, West, Wilkes, Worthy, Magic, and Kareem, Shaq, and Kobe. Unlike any other franchise the Lakers have found a way to acquire the established star and pair him with above average role players.
These players have excelled at their prescribed roles and in the process secured multiple championships for Los Angeles. From Vern Mikkelsen to Happy Hairston to Byron Scott, and Derek Fisher. They have always managed to build a championship roster.
A new championship roster is required, but that new cast must possess those timeless championship intangibles of their predecessors.
The 2012-2013 season has already begun for General Manager Mitch Kupchak and he should already have an idea of who the Lakers want but most of all who they need. Kupchak sees what we all see and has the same list of salaries that we have. He knows what has to be done and who needs to do it. He along with every Laker fan has a list of players.
The only difference is this is a wish list full of possibilities, while Kupchak has a bulletin board of “get er dones”.
While it is obvious to most basketball fans that the Lakers do not need Dwight Howard, it should be more apparent that they want him. This offseason the Lakers will stop at nothing to obtain the premier
defensive force in the game.
After Orlando makes it clear to LA they are not interested in Bynum unless he commits to a long term contract, which Bynum refuses to do, it is the New Jersey Nets who step in and complete a three team
trade that will send Dwight Howard to the Lakers.
Orlando's request for LA’s first round pick, cash, and Pau Gasol will be met and the Lakers will secure Howard. New Jersey jumps at the opportunity to grab Bynum and team him with Brook Lopez to give them what they believe will resemble a Tim Duncan/David Robinson championship inside presence and the Lakers finally get the man they have chased for the last year and a half.
The odd thing about this move is the fact that it was aided by the development of Andrew Bynum. The “former” Laker has been playing out of his mind this season, and has amassed 31 double-doubles in just 43 starts. It has been Bynum’s defense that has made him so appealing. The center has registered two or more blocks in 30 of his 43 starts this season and has not fouled out of a single game thus far.
Keeping Bynum would be a foregone conclusion for the Lakers if Howard were not available. The Lakers have a rich history of being the center of the basketball universe and it starts with their knack of having the number one center in the game which in this instance is Howard.
Howard is younger than Gasol and more athletic than Bynum. While some in the organization would prefer to keep Bynum all in the organization would agree the durability of Howard is too good to pass up.
The center once stated he would not re-up with the Lakers over concerns about an aged roster. Thats why LA's insistence on getting younger makes this move more likely.
With defense being Head Coach Mike Brown’s strong suit and Howard being a defender by trade the two should be a perfect pair.
Most people do not know who Jordan Hill is and why he is the perfect complement to Howard. Hill will play the role of Happy Hairston to Dwight.
The former Arizona Wildcat is an athletic big who can run the floor and finish strong at the rim. He also has decent touch around the basket, but the main thing he will bring to that frontline is that championship dog mentality. Hill will provide just the right amount of wrong to keep Howard clean and have opposing frontlines shook to death.
Hill was drafted by the Knicks and began his career under known player developer Mike D’Antoni. Unfortunately for Hill he could play all facets of the game, which is a no-no in the D'Antoni system of gunning and was deemed expendable. He then was sent to Houston, where he dwindled in obscurity
Regardless, what Hill was before arriving in LA is inconsequential compared to what he can become in a Lakers uniform.
Lost in the championship parades down Figueroa Street is just how exceptional a job the Lakers pro scouts have done in discovering untapped talent, whether it is Trevor Arizia, Devean George, A.C. Green, Rick Fox, and Byron Scott were all players the Lakers scouts discovered.
Jordan Hill fits that mold and will play a vital role in the next parade through downtown Los Angeles.
The Knicks are a team of stars and big plays. They are built for SportsCenter highlights and barbershop debates, however they are not built to win championships.
Players like Landry Fields never seem to last in NY because they are perfectly constructed to win titles. They have a team first mentality and play at a high level from game one to game 82.
Fields will be available for the taking when the time comes for LA to fill that small forward slot. The former Standford Cardinal will be a free agent this summer and we all know the Knicks sign names they do not sign talent. This should pave the yellow brick road for the Long Beach native back to LA.
Fields is an all-around player whose best attribute is effort and this fits the championship pedigree the Lakers have.
The Purple and Gold always find a way to acquire this type of player and that tradition will continue this offseason. Fields will command a big payday but the opportunity to play for a title every year and return to his SoCal roots will be too good to pass up.
At the end of the day some things just fit and Landry to the Lakers just fits.
Much like herpes and the IRS Kobe aint going anywhere any time soon
Earlier in the article the words three team trade were mentioned, in explaining how the Lakers would acquire Dwight Howard. Well, ladies and gents Deron Williams will be the true prize of that trade. The three team trade would go like this;
Orlando would receive Pau Gasol, cash consideration, and two of LA's and one New Jersey's first round picks in future drafts.
New Jersey would receive Andrew "Boom-Boom" Bynum, Orlando's protected first round pick, and Jameer Nelson
Los Angeles would receive Deron Williams (in a sign and trade) and Dwight Howard
Williams’ desire to leave New Jersey and play in Los Angeles will be the driving force to this deal. Howard’s John Kerry style flip-flopping will give way to certainty when it becomes apparent Williams is
headed to LA.
Sports, much like life, is won by those who would rather die enormous then live doormat. The Lakers have never accepted mediocrity and have always chased and caught the big fish, fools we all are to think this offseason will be any different.