The Los Angeles Lakers have had one of the best offseasons of any NBA team, but the fiasco revolving around Dwight Howard's prospective arrival has marred the intelligent moves that general manager Mitch Kupchak and the rest of the front office has made.
Kupchak and company have been trying to swing a deal with the Orlando Magic that would bring Howard to the Staples Center and send Andrew Bynum elsewhere, which would be great if it could actually happen.
However, now that Magic general manager Rob Hennigan may not deal Howard before the season begins (via ESPN's Chris Broussard), the Lakers organization may end a very productive offseason with a bad taste in its metaphorical mouth.
The summer started with the Lakers exercising their team option on Bynum for the 2012-13 season. Not much was made of how smoothly things between the two parties went over, and it appeared as though the seven-footer was happy to play out the option and wait for a new contract next year.
Then, in one of the few blockbuster moves of the offseason, Steve Nash came over from the Phoenix Suns in a sign-and-trade that saw the Lakers give up nothing but draft picks. The only thing Los Angeles sorely missed last season was a court general to operate the offense, but that need has been filled thanks to Nash.
Now, unfortunately, the Lakers involved themselves in the "Dwightmare." It has become an epidemic of sorts, a seemingly never-ending saga that the entire basketball world has become sick of.
All the trade speculation and rumors that talk about Bynum's prospective departure for a player that plays the same position that he does surely have not resonated well with the 24-year-old center. He hasn't made any public statements voicing his displeasure, but given his past immaturity issues, it wouldn't be a surprise to hear that he is personally insulted.
The story of the Lakers' offseason should have been Nash's arrival. He's one of the best point guards to ever play the game and will play a huge role in the team's quest for a title.
But, thanks to Howard and the Lakers' endeavors, there is the possibility of a letdown before the season even begins. Plenty of fans want Howard on the team, and many in that contingent could feasibly put a negative spin on the summer if he is not acquired.
That shouldn't be the case though. The Lakers are good enough to contend in the Western Conference even without Howard, and failing to obtain him could be a blessing in disguise.
The Lakers have been plenty productive this offseason, but the Howard situation has not gone well for them so far.
If that doesn't change, this summer could be known as "The Summer the Lakers Didn't Get Dwight Howard," rather than "The Summer the Lakers Traded For Steve Nash."