Lakers Rumors: Why LA Must Land Dwight Howard to Get Back to NBA Finals

Alvaro AlfaroCorrespondent IIJuly 19, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 18:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic blocks the shot by Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers in the fourth quarter during the game on January 18, 2010 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 Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers have been ousted in the Conference Semifinals in the past two years. But if they manage to land Dwight Howard, consider this team a lock for the 2013 NBA Finals.

Recent reports claim that Howard has warmed up to the idea of signing with the Los Angeles Lakers after this season if he is traded.

According to Jarrod Rudolph of RealGM:

The Lakers are reportedly ready to make the trade, but first need assurance from Howard that he will commit to the team long-term. Sources say Howard is “excited” about the opportunity to play for the Lakers and will re-sign with the team when his contract expires at the end of the 2012-13 season.

The Lakers, Orlando Magic and Cleveland Cavaliers are reportedly discussing a three-team trade that would send Howard to the Lakers, Andrew Bynum to the Cavaliers, while the Magic would receive Anderson Varejao and multiple draft picks.


It appears that the Lakers are on their way to luring yet another dominant center to southern California without giving up too much.

If traded, D12 will be walking in the footsteps of Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and of course Shaquille O'Neal. All three of those centers were acquired via trade to secure championships for this franchise. And with this team, Howard will now repeat what these giants did.

This isn't just a simple swap at center. The three-time Defensive Player of the Year is a different beast than Andrew Bynum, but at this point in his career he's far better suited to get this team over the hump. His defensive presence alone will push the Lakers into a top-10 defense at the very least.

For the past four seasons, the Orlando Magic have been in the top eight in opponents' points per game—despite not having a team with great defenders. Howard alone makes players around him better defensively and he changes opposing teams' game plans whenever he's on the court.

After acquiring Steve Nash, there was some skepticism about this team's capability of returning to the NBA Finals because of Nash's suspect defense. This is a big issue for the Lakers because of the strong point guard play in the Western Conference. However, having Howard in the middle erases Nash's liability on the defensive end.

The cliché that defense wins championships has been beaten to death, but with this defensive ace at center that age old saying never sounded so true.