As you have probably heard by now, the Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly discussing a sign-and-trade with the Los Angeles Clippers that could send Dwight Howard to the Clippers for Eric Bledsoe and Blake Griffin, according to Chris Broussard of ESPN The Magazine.
This deal would benefit the Lakers the most, believe it or not.
First of all, how would a duo of Howard and Chris Paul be any better than a duo of Griffin and Paul? While Howard may be more talented overall than Griffin, the center's impact on the floor is debatable.
For instance, while Howard averaged 17.1 points, 12.4 rebounds, 2.4 blocks and 1.1 steals last season, his PER of 19.79 ranked eighth out of the 16 centers who averaged at least 30 minutes per game, according to HoopData.com. Brook Lopez, Anderson Varejao, Al Jefferson, Nikola Pekovic, Chris Bosh, DeMarcus Cousins and Al Horford all had better PERs than Howard. That suggests his numbers on the surface made him look more important to the Lakers than he really was.
And, honestly, those who watched Howard play don't need advanced statistics to know he generally disappointed in his first season with the Lakers.
On top of that, Paul and Howard would need time to build chemistry, while Paul and Griffin already have.
Secondly, the Lakers would have a better team minus Howard and plus both Griffin and Bledsoe. In fact, I'd go as far as to say the Lakers would have a better team in a one-for-one exchange of Howard and Griffin.
With the trade, the Lakers would have a probable starting five of Steve Nash/Bledsoe, Kobe Bryant, Earl Clark, Blake Griffin and Pau Gasol. That's not a bad starting five. Plus, Gasol would be able to play in his comfort zone in the post.
Who would benefit most from this trade?
While the Clippers are currently hurting after a first-round exit in the playoffs, I still don't think they are pressing enough to actually commit to this deal, even with Bledsoe excluded. While Howard is a big name, it's not like the Clippers are going to win the title on this deal alone.
On the other hand, perhaps the Clippers believe landing Howard would definitely keep Paul—a free-agent-to-be—with the club. After all, Howard and Paul have reportedly been talking behind closed doors, according to Broussard.
So, in reality, losing Howard while adding Griffin and Bledsoe actually increases the Lakers' probability of success, rather than the other way around.