Lakers Trade Rumors: Upgrading from Andrew Bynum to Dwight Howard Is Too Risky

Tim KeeneyContributor IJuly 11, 2012

ORLANDO, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Andrew Bynum #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers and the Western Conference looks to move the ball against Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic and the Eastern Conference during the 2012 NBA All-Star Game at the Amway Center on February 26, 2012 in Orlando, Florida.  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 Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

While the possibility of going from Andrew Bynum to Dwight Howard will certainly be intriguing for Los Angeles Lakers fans, Mitch Kupchak simply needs to hang up the phone. 

The Dwightmare just isn't worth it. 

Yes, when on his game, Howard can be the most dominant player in the NBA not named LeBron or Kevin (Durant, not Seraphin), but what's to say his time in L.A. would last any longer than a year? 

The deal that would send Howard to the Lakers, of course, came back to life yesterday via HOOPSWORLD's Eric Pincus:

HOOPSWORLD has learned that there have been preliminary discussions between the Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets that would involve sending Andrew Bynum to the Rockets, Howard to the Lakers and a number of first-round picks, prospects and significant cap relief to the Magic.

That almost assuredly piqued the interest of most Laker fans, but one thing must be kept in mind. Howard becomes an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2013. 

So, the question shouldn't be, "Can we trade Bynum for Howard?" because that part is obvious. It should be, "Will Howard re-sign?"

If Howard can be taken at his word, and believe me, that "if" is bigger than Dwight himself, the answer to that question is likely no. 

Back in April it was revealed that the only reason he opted in for his last year in Orlando was because the Magic organization threatened to send him to Los Angeles if he didn't make a decision (via New York Post):

According to league sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity, Orlando brass got fed up with Howard’s yes-no-maybe posturing and threatened to trade him to the Lakers, not his desired location, if he did not sign an agreement to waive the opt-out clause for the final season of his contract. Howard eventually signed the papers, but only after he was told “he would be a Laker by the end of the day,” according to one source.

Then there's the fact that Howard said in early July he would only re-sign with the Brooklyn Nets (via ESPN):

"There's only one team on my list and if I don't get traded there, I'll play the season out and explore my free agency after that," Howard told Yahoo! Sports on Monday.

Again, Howard flip-flops more than most politicians, so all of this has to be taken with a grain of salt, but it is certainly damning evidence of him staying in Los Angeles past this season. At the very least, it makes it way too risky for the Lakers to think about acquiring him. 

Of course, if Howard was light years better than Bynum, making this deal, even for a one-year rental, might just be worth it. Give Nash, Kobe, Gasol and Dwight one shot at the title, and let him walk after that if he wants to. 

But he's not worth it. 

Bynum took large steps forward this season, and while his attitude is lacking (and Howard's isn't, you might ask), he is closer to Howard in terms of production on the court than you might think. 

On a per-36 minute basis, Bynum averaged just 0.3 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.0 steals less per game while blocking the same amount of shots in 2011-12. 

Additionally, while Bynum will always have injury concerns, the same may soon be true for Howard, even though 2011-12 was the first year he missed significant time.

The Dwightmare is coming off of significant back surgery, and if back problems are going to force Jared Sullinger to drop 20 picks, they should at least make people a little weary about Howard's future. 

After saying all that, I have no problem admitting Dwight Howard is better than Andrew Bynum and would be an upgrade for 2012-13.

But if the possibility of him re-signing in the summer is less than the possibility of Bynum doing the same thing, Howard just simply isn't worth it.