LA Lakers: Dwight Howard Would Mark the Beginning of a New Laker Era
"The Indecision" and the "Dwightmare" would be a fantasy come to reality for Mitch Kupchak, coach Mike Brown, and all of the Los Angeles Lakers organization and fans.
It's safe to say that if Dwight Howard joins the Los Angeles Lakers soon, they become the best team in the Western Conference, and, arguably, the favorites to win the title in 2013.
But one thing that a Dwight Howard to LA deal would signify is the beginning of the end of the Kobe Bryant era and the beginning of the DH12 era.
Is this a good thing or a bad thing?
I say it's a good thing.
To start, it's obvious that Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss are making sure that the Lakers stay competitive now. Who doesn't want to win now?
Bringing in Steve Nash was clearly the best move the Lakers could've made for the point guard position this summer. Nash signed a three-year deal, and at age 38, don't be surprised if Nash begins to see less playing time in year three when he'll be 41.
Pau Gasol is 32 and still has about two good years left in his game before Father Time catches up to his career.
But let's get to Kobe Bryant.
Despite Kobe's age—he turns 34 years of age on August 23—some die-hard Lakers fans expect the Black Mamba to be around for at least three more years. But let's be honest, Kobe is an old 33 going on 34 and has many miles on those legs—not to mention many knee issues.
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Let's remember one thing about Kobe: he will not continue to play basketball once he sees his game go down significantly. In a recent interview with The Huffington Post, Kobe stated he's not sure if he'll play after the 2013-14 season.
"I've been playing for 17 years now, so next year will be my 17th and then, when I'm 35, it will be my 18th year in the league. I mean that's a long time to be playing. It will be the last year in my contract, so I don't know. I don't know if I'll play any longer than that."
- Kobe Bryant to The Huffington Post on July 16, 2012.
With all due respect to Kobe's hero, Michael Jordan, I don't think that Kobe Bean Bryant will leave the game of basketball as Jordan did with the Washington Wizards: old and a shadow of what he used to be. Kobe is the most competitive athlete of the past decade, and he will not allow his legacy to be tarnished by continuing to play in the NBA when he knows he and his legs are done.
Here is where Dwight Howard comes into the picture.
Kupchak, Buss, and the Lakers' organization are going to do everything to avoid a situation like they had in the mid-90s when the Lakers were without a superstar and mediocre, to say the least.
Sorry Nick Van Exel and Eddie Jones.
Kupchak is looking to secure Dwight Howard because he knows, as all Lakers fans know, that the Kobe Bryant era is about to end. Steve Nash will only be in LA for a few years and Gasol will eventually begin to decline in productivity.
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Howard is needed not just because he makes the Lakers better now, but at age 26, Howard makes the Lakers better for the rest of this decade.
Dwight Howard's presence in Los Angeles will also help the Lakers remain the main attraction at the Staples Center, as the Clippers are making a strong push to try and become the kings of LA hoops in the near future.
Let's get things straight, the Clippers will never own LA. But with Blake Griffin extending his contract until the 2017-18 season and Chris Paul potentially staying long term as well, the Clippers will attract free agents to their team in the coming years.
This is just one of the reasons Dwight Howard has to be signed by the Lakers.
Potentially the biggest aspect of why it is so important that the Lakers bring in Dwight Howard is the fact that Howard will attract a big-name free agent in the future. This will take place after Kobe, Pau, and Nash are gone.
What future NBA free agent wouldn't like to live in Los Angeles, team up with Dwight Howard, and be a Laker?
For example, I'm sure Kyrie Irving would listen to a potential offer from the Lakers in the future.
If the Lakers want to make the best investment they can make, they need to bring in Dwight Howard this summer.
Kobe, Nash, and Gasol along with trade-bait Andrew Bynum are enough to make the Lakers a title contender now. But Kobe will need to keep his knees healthy, Gasol needs to be more consistent, and let's remember that Nash is an improvement, but he's still the 2012 Steve Nash, not the 2005 MVP Steve Nash.
For all intents and purposes, the Kobe-Pau-Nash project will be a two-year run. Time to stop only thinking of the now, and think about the future.
Can Andrew Bynum lead the Lakers to a bright future? I'm not sure about that.
The signing of Dwight Howard would do many things for the Los Angeles Lakers:
It'd put the Lakers over the Oklahoma City Thunder as the favorites in the West.
It'd keep the tradition of big men on the Lakers going.
It'd keep the Lakers as the best team in Los Angeles.
It'd help attract future big-name free agents to the purple and gold.
It'd make the Lakers better now and for the future.
Yes, the signing of Dwight Howard would mark the beginning of the end of the Kobe Bryant era.
But it'd mark the beginning of the DH12 era for the Lakers—an era that would certainly see the Lakers' tradition of winning continue on for many years to come.
Follow me on Twitter:@XoelCardenas
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