According to Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Clippers are weighing the possibility of offering Blake Griffin and Eric Bledsoe to the Los Angeles Lakers for Dwight Howard. The deal would be executed after July 1, when free agency begins.
While we may be in the stage of rumors and hyperbolic reports, this potential sign-and-trade would be a victory for both Los Angeles teams.
Since the report broke, there has been endless speculation as to what may or may not transpire between these in-city rivals. Due to the fact that both the Clippers and Lakers play in Los Angeles, perhaps the deal would never come to fruition.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports says the Lakers simply wouldn't let it happen.
That may be a hitch, but let's remember something important—neither side will have a definitive answer until the deal is officially offered and accepted or turned down.
With all of this being established, this potential trade makes sense on many levels. Not only does it favor each side, but it plays directly into each side's needs.
If that's not enough, it's exactly what two of the NBA's superstars are hoping for.
Teaming CP3 and D-12
In terms of pure basketball, trading Blake Griffin for Dwight Howard is a poor decision. The former has more years ahead of him for a team that needs building blocks moving forward.
With that being said, there is one factor that supersedes basic basketball logic.
Howard and Los Angeles Clippers franchise point guard Chris Paul reportedly want to play together.
According to Chris Broussard of ESPN, Howard and Paul are exchanging text messages and contemplating the possibility of joining forces this summer. Both players are unrestricted free agents, but they're also max contract players that fall out of the Clippers' price range as a tandem.
Trading Griffin could change that—even if that is a heavy cost.
Howard has battled back and shoulder injuries, and those are type of ailments that can derail a big man's career. Griffin, meanwhile, has been beyond durable since recovering from rookie year knee surgery.
Paul and Howard would create an instant title contender—a possibility that they're reportedly exploring.
Lakers Need Athleticism
Dwight Howard is one of the most athletic centers in the NBA, possessing explosive leaping ability and valuable lateral quickness. With that being said, D-12 is not a transition threat and the Los Angeles Lakers lack any form of athleticism beyond him.
This trade would offer a cure to those woes.
It's no secret that Blake Griffin is a phenomenal athlete, running the floor like a guard and throwing down some of the most magnificent dunks in NBA history. With Griffin at power forward and Pau Gasol at center, the Lakers would create the dynamic interior they'd been hoping for.
But the key here is Eric Bledsoe.
Steve Nash is still an elite point guard, and his lack of production in 2012-13 stems from his decrease in touches—an 18.3 percent usage rate—and battle with injuries. Still, Nash is 39 and has never been heralded for his athleticism or defensive presence.
Bledsoe is the complementary player—and, potentially, the franchise point guard—that L.A. needs.
Bledsoe is already one of the top ball hawks in the NBA, ranking third in steals per 48 minutes. He's also a powerful athlete that scores and defends well in transition, all the while maintaining a lockdown defensive base in the half court.
For a team that's prepared to lose its current stars to free agency in 2014, landing Bledsoe and Griffin could go a long way to its returning to prominence in the near future.
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