Dwight Howard Trade: What His LA Lakers Move Means for the Boston Celtics

Patrick Buscone@pbuscone10Senior Analyst IAugust 10, 2012

BOSTON - MAY 24:  Kevin Garnett #5 and Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics stand and wait for a free throw attemp against Dwight Howard #12 (C) of the Orlando Magic in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at TD Banknorth Garden on May 24, 2010 in Boston, Massachusetts.  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 Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

It's over. 

Really, why should they even bother playing an NBA season next year?

That was my knee-jerk reaction when I found out that Dwight Howard had been dealt to the Lakers in a four-team deal.

My reasoning stemmed from this one nightmarish scenario for Celtics fans: a Lakers-Heat finals. Because after this trade, those are really the two favorites to go all the way. 

That leaves two possibilities. Possibility one: the Miami Heat repeat as champions as the legend of LeBron James continues to grow, and Ray Allen gets rewarded with a second ring. 

The second possibility is that the Dwight Howard-Lakers win it all. On the surface, that doesn't seem so bad until you consider the repercussions of it. First and probably worst of all, the Lakers would tie the Celtics for most titles all time at 17.

Not only that, but Kobe would also tie Michael Jordan with six rings, which would open up the inevitable and insufferably annoying debate of Kobe vs. MJ. On top of that, everyone would forget how annoying Dwight Howard was the whole summer if he wins a ring next summer.

You decide which scenario is better. In either case, Celtics fans are screwed.

That was my initial reaction to this deal. Literally, within seconds of hearing about it, this entire scenario went down in my head.

It wasn't until I was planning foreign countries to visit during the time of The Finals when I got a response to my pessimistic reaction from a friend of mine. He simply texted me, "Believe in something!".

That's when I realized that during my few minutes of pessimism, I had completely given up in everything I previously believed in. Before that moment, I believed that the Celtics could win it all.

Then, suddenly, I jumped ship and stopped believing.

Now, I'm wondering why. What was so otherworldly about this deal that made me doubt my beloved Celtics?

First of all, I realize that it was completely illogical for me to count the Celtics out of making it to the finals just because the Lakers got D12. This deal had literally zero impact on the Eastern Conference, except for Andrew Bynum going to the Sixers essentially for Andre Iguodala and the Magic guaranteeing a spot in the lottery next year. 

Bynum will no doubt help the Sixers, but he won't singlehandedly make them a threat to the Celtics for Eastern supremacy. 

That still leaves the Heat as the Celtics' biggest obstacle in the East. Will it be hard for the Celtics to beat the Heat? Without a doubt, but it will also be a lot more possible than many think. 

The Celtics came within one quarter of beating the Heat with literally zero depth. Now, they are arguably the deepest team in the NBA.

The East will likely come down to the Celtics and the Heat again and again; it will be anyone's series. 

In the West, it will be the Spurs, Lakers and Thunder going at it for a Finals' berth. 

Should the Lakers be the favorites? Sure, but not by as much as you would think. Really, all they did was swap the second-best center in the league for the best center in the league. 

Along with the acquisitions of Steve Nash and Antawn Jamison, they should be slightly better than the defending Western Conference Champion Oklahoma City Thunder, assuming they are able to gel as a team.

Keep in mind, though, that the Thunder have old friend Kendrick Perkins—who is famous for being the kryptonite to Dwight Howard's Superman—and a distinct advantage at point guard and small forward. 

For our purposes, though, let's assume that all goes according to plan and the Lakers and Celtics both advance to the NBA Finals and fans everywhere get treated to yet another Celtics-Lakers final.

Who wins?

In terms of starting-five, the Celtics arguably have an advantage at three positions—if Garnett returns to power forward—and a better bench. 

They may still be underdogs, but it wouldn't be an un-winnable series. 

So fear not Celtics fans, Banner 18 is not out of reach—just a little harder to attain. 

And yes, I did overreact. 


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