Will Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard team up this season?
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports broke the story, with the foundation of the deal surrounding a Dwight Howard for Andrew Bynum swap. As of now, Pau Gasol is not a part of the deal, with the Orlando Magic reportedly looking to hit the reset button and rebuild their roster around younger, less expensive players.
Dwight Howard is about to get traded. You can take that to the bank. The only question at this point is where is Dwight Howard going to play next season.
I'll give you five reasons that I believe Dwight Howard is headed to the purple and gold...
Somehow, Howard has managed to make The Decision look like a good PR move. Instead, we could call Howard's whole debacle "The InDecision." Here is a timeline, and it's not pretty. Howard wanted to be traded, but only to teams he wanted to play for. Never mind that the places he wanted to play didn't have the assets to trade for him.
Howard wanted to have his cake and eat it to.
Of course, we know how all of this played out. Stan Van Gundy (coach) and Otis Smith (GM) got fired. Howard signed a one-year extension that he didn't want to sign. Now Howard is claiming the Magic "blackmailed him" into signing that one-year extension for a bazillion dollars.
I wish somebody would blackmail me like that just one time.
So as you can see, the bridges have been napalmed. There is no going back. Howard is going to be traded. The only question is, "who gets Dwight Howard?"
Dwight Howard wants to go play in New Jersey—oops, Brooklyn—alongside Derron Williams. This makes no sense to me, as Williams has done nothing at this point in his career to make me think he is going to steal a ring from LeBron James or Kevin Durant in the next five years.
Is it playing in the New York City market, his brand, and all of that nonsense that has Howard pining for Brooklyn? Is he a really, really big Jay-Z fan? I don't get it.
Either way, the Brooklyn Nets don't have the juice to get this deal done. They don't have enough assets. They traded their draft pick (No. 6 overall) to Portland for Gerald Wallace, who is now opting to be a free agent himself. They traded every other attractive young player on their roster to land Williams in the first place.
The only player that might appeal to the Magic is Brook Lopez. Would you trade Brook Lopez for Dwight Howard? I didn't think so.
So if the Nets don't have enough to land Howard, and Howard absolutely, positively can't go back to Orlando, that leaves Dwight Howard with one very sobering realization... it's sinking in...
The Magic can trade Dwight Howard to any team that is willing to make a deal. So there are really only two things you have to consider here:
One, does said team have the assets to make the Magic pull the trigger?
Two, since Howard is openly lobbying to play in New Jersey, would said team make the deal with no guarantee that Howard would be coming to town for longer than the year left on his contract?
Most teams wouldn't make a deal without a guaranteed long term deal in place. However, there are a few teams out there that would take that kind of risk. So the Magic are in the drivers' seat. They are going to get some assets back to rebuild their roster. They are going to be rid of the Excedrin sized headache that Dwight Howard has become.
Dwight Howard might as well pack his bags. As long as a GM is willing to bet his job on a one year Dwight Howard rental, this trade is going down.
Andrew Bynum is, in my opinion, the second best center in the NBA. One could argue that if he had a higher usage rate (i.e., didn't play with Kobe Bryant), that he would actually put up better numbers than Howard.
That is an argument for another time and place.
For now, Bynum is big, strong, young, and really good—all things he has in common with Dwight Howard. The Lakers also have a contract or two they could move around that might allow them to take Hedo Turkoglu off of the Magic's hands. Turkoglu is vastly overpaid, and getting his contract off the books should be second on the Magic's list of things to do this offseason.
The Lakers still have their amnesty, meaning they could wipe a contract off the books. So taking on Howard and Turkoglu's huge combined salary wouldn't be as hard for the Lakers to do.
Kobe Bryant isn't getting any younger. He wants another ring. The Lakers, as they are currently constructed, aren't going to win another one. They need to make a big change.
If you paired up Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, and Kobe Bryant, the Lakers would at least have the foundation of a solid playoff team. The Lakers would be capped out and unable to make any more major moves, but you'd have to think that the combination of Bryant and Howard would be enough to attract one more ring chasing veteran.
Bottom line, the Lakers should make this move for life after Kobe. Once Bryant is gone, who is going to carry the torch for this franchise? Who better than Dwight Howard? Let him take his place alongside George Mikan, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, and Shaquille O'Neal as the latest greatest big man in the NBA to wear a Lakers uniform.
I don't think adding Howard to the Lakers will bring a championship to L.A., but that doesn't matter. This trade is happening. Dwight Howard will be a Laker.