The last thing the Los Angeles Lakers need right now is a diva.
Orlando officials are willing to discuss trades for Howard, and the Lakers have been one of the teams in touch with them over the weekend, sources said...While the Lakers have yet to make a direct offer, there's no scenario where Orlando would move Howard to the Lakers without getting back Andrew Bynum, L.A.'s 24-year-old All-Star center.
There are other reasons besides Howard's behavior patterns that make me cringe at this potential deal, though.
Howard is two years older than Bynum, and his game has really plateaued over the last couple of seasons. He isn't an offensive juggernaut, and many of his points come off of other people's misses. The Lakers need a center that can create offensively to keep teams from double-teaming Kobe Bryant on the wing.
Bynum's game, on the other hand, has just started to flourish. He still battles with inconsistent play at times, but overall the arrow is still pointing up. He's not even 25 years old, and for the most part he's gotten better every year he's been in the NBA.
Bynum's offensive capabilities are far superior than Howard's. He is developing a potent low-post presence, and he's getting to the point where he can start taking games over in the paint. His defense isn't on the same level of Howard's, but he's no slouch in that department.
On the court, Bynum fits better with Bryant than Howard.
Off the court, both players have shown themselves to be extremely immature at times, but Bynum seems to have settled down a bit. Howard hasn't gotten the memo about how foolish his repeated trade demands and overall attitude make him look, and his childish antics haven't stopped.
Even if Howard's game matched up with Bryant and the Lakers, his me-first attitude is enough to destroy the locker room. He already got Stan van Gundy fired, and it wouldn't be long before he started pulling the same kind of crap with Mike Brown.
Howard has become a joke. His abilities on the court have been overshadowed by his antics off the court, and a change of scenery will only sate him for so long before he starts getting dissatisfied with something else.
The Lakers need to forget about the pipe dream of bringing Howard to L.A. They need to trade Pau Gasol and build around Bynum. He's a spectacular young player who needs to be supported, not kicked to the curb for a selfish diva.