According to Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo! Sports, the Los Angeles Lakers are once again involved in serious trade discussions with the Orlando Magic for center Dwight Howard, and this time Philadelphia and Denver are the other teams vying to seal the deal.
Here we go again.
The Howard saga has occupied more than its fair share of air time and it's mystifying when you consider all the NBA teams that have been left in the wake of this constant soap opera.
The proposed trade reported by Yahoo! may just be another Howard rumor in an offseason that has been filled with them, and in this instance it would probably benefit the Lakers if this theory holds true.
The Lakers would give up not only Andrew Bynum but Pau Gasol as well, and in exchange for the NBA's most dominant front line they would receive Howard and Al Harrington from Denver?
I'm not sure who in the Lakers front office is promoting this deal, but completing it would erase all of the positive vibes created by signing point guard Steve Nash and forward Antawn Jamison.
Howard is arguably a better player than either Bynum or Gasol, but he's not better than both of them.
And that's essentially what the conversation boils down to because Harrington is not really in the discussion at all.
Sure, Harrington is a decent player and he's capable of getting hot from the perimeter on occasion, but he can't replace the consistent impact of Gasol or Bynum. And Howard certainly can't duplicate the production of both, even if Nash is feeding him the ball.
Right now the Lakers are a legitimate Finals contender, but would the same be true if the Lakers replace Bynum and Gasol's combined 37 points per game for Howard's 20.6 and 14.5?
The worst thing about this scenario is the Lakers are apparently willing to give away the strength of their team for a player who is coming off major back surgery, with no real time-table on his return to the court.
Are Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak and team president Jim Buss really that crazy?
It would be an ill-advised move that defies the shrewd legacy that Jerry West began and—to this point—Kupchak has upheld.
The Lakers have prospered because of their ability to make major deals without giving up much in return, but in this scenario, the Lakers get fleeced.
According to Yahoo!, Bynum would go to Philadelphia, Gasol would go to Orlando and the Lakers would go from a bona fide NBA Finals contender to another early exit from the postseason.