Dwight Howard: Why the Superstar Big Man Makes the LA Lakers the Team to Beat

Nikhil BaradwajSenior Analyst IJuly 15, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 18:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic drives against Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers in the fourth quarter during the game on January 18, 2010 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers won 98-92. 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 Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Rumors are swirling like always around Dwight Howard, with talks finally sounding more and more concrete.

The Los Angeles Lakers, Cleveland Cavaliers and Orlando Magic are discussing a trade that would make everyone happy (via Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld.com).

According to Kennedy, the Lakers would get Howard, the top center in the league, the Cavaliers would likely acquire Andrew Bynum and the Magic would probably pick up a combination of young Cavaliers players and future draft picks.

At the end of the day, Los Angeles needs to get this trade done.

With an aging core and a city that has a "win now" attitude, the pressure is definitely on the Lakers to complete the deal.

Bringing Howard to the Lakers would make them to the team to beat.

It is hard to justify how D-12 would vault the Lakers past the Thunder and the Heat, but there is a method to my madness.

Oklahoma City and Miami's fundamental weaknesses are their big men. While the Thunder lack depth in their frontcourt, the Heat are so thin in terms of their frontline that power forward Chris Bosh is forced to play at the 5.

Howard would eat up either team, especially with Steve Nash as his point guard.

He would also free up more space for Kobe Bryant, who had a slight resurgence this past season, finishing second in the NBA in scoring.

Howard would likely even buy into Mike Brown's defensive sets, considering that the big man is arguably the best defensive player in the league.

Maybe most important, Howard will give Pau Gasol some space to be more effective as he draws far more double teams.

His impact on the court offensively and defensively would be enough to put the Lakers in the driver's seat not only for next year's title, but also for the next two if he re-signs at the end of next season.

While the center certainly has a lot of growing up to do, the Lakers give Howard his best chance at winning a title.

The question is whether the Magic will pull the trigger and deal Howard. In my opinion, when you can get cheap prospects like Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson while also garnering a few draft picks, you can't go wrong.

One thing that we have learned from this Howard fiasco is that everything is not what it seems.

In any case, if Howard lands in Los Angeles, the rest of the league, and the Miami Heat in particular, better watch out.