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NBA Rumors: L.A. Lakers Must Gamble with Andrew Bynum, Not Dwight Howard

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 19:  Andrew Bynum #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers grabs a rebound in front of Kendrick Perkins #5 of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the second quarter in Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 19 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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Stephen BabbFeatured ColumnistJuly 5, 2012

The Orlando Magic may remain interested in using Dwight Howard to pry Andrew Bynum away from the Los Angeles Lakers, but that doesn't mean the feeling is mutual—at least for right now.

According to ESPNLA.com's Dave McMenamin, Los Angeles appears to be finished with this summer's heavy lifting:

Pau or Bynum trade the next shoe to drop after Nash? Not so fast. Source tells me Lakers intend to keep core intact to play with Nash

— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) July 5, 2012

That would be a somewhat surprising posture given that the acquisition of Steve Nash would make the Lakers a more attractive long-term home for Howard, at least in theory.

If Howard had any doubts about the Lakers contending in the near future, those doubts have presumably been addressed. And, if the big man were at all worried about the ball finding its way from Kobe's grip to his hands in the paint, Nash would seem to calm those fears as well.

But if we're to believe the reports about Los Angeles' attentions, all the speculation could be wasted breath.

Perhaps for good reason, too.

Andrew Bynum has steadily developed his skill set to become one of the best low-post scorers in the game. His arsenal of moves and ability to his the mid-range jumper set him apart from other elite centers, including Howard.

For the most part, the two All-Stars were statistically even last season.

Howard was a bit more productive, but the reasons for that advantage ranged from countless trips to the free-throw line (many of which invoked intentionally) and the fact that he simply saw more touches on a team without the likes of Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol.

Sure, Howard may bring some unique things to the table. His athleticism makes him a imposing difference-maker on the defensive end.

Whether those things are significant enough to part with the younger Bynum (and almost certainly additional assets) is another question altogether.

After all, when thinking about the long-term, having a skilled big man matters. Howard's freakish athleticism will diminish in time. Bynum's ability to supplement his size with a healthy dose of finesse will not.

While Bynum has improved throughout the years, Howard has largely remained the same player he was in his third season.

His post-game has come along to some degree, but he's still at his best when he's two feet from the basket. Chances are we won't see Superman do anything he hasn't done already.

On the other hand, Bynum just had his best year by far, and he could very well improve upon it next time around. Los Angeles may be wise to take the patient route for once, separating hype from reality in the process.

Dwight Howard is a phenomenal player, but Andrew Bynum is far better than advertised—and just maybe good enough to keep.

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