Los Angeles Lakers Trade Rumors: Could Dwight Howard for Andrew Bynum Work?
Carmelo Anthony is not coming to Los Angeles.
Any hopes that Lakers fans had of Anthony donning the team's signature purple and gold were washed away by the announcement that the New York Knicks had completed a deal to bring the former Nuggets star to the Big Apple.
However, the Lakers' quest to improve their team didn't end with Anthony, and the fact that he signed with New York should increase the sense of urgency for general manager Mitch Kupchak.
In order for the Lakers to remain relevant in the new NBA, it may be imperative that Kupchak makes a move to boost the star power in Tinseltown, and fortunately some very high-profile options may still be on the table.
The most intriguing future free agent for Los Angeles has to be Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard, if for no other reason than the history that already exists between the two teams.
Howard wouldn't be the first Magic center to leave Florida for Los Angeles, but if he did the move would be just as significant as when Shaquille O'Neal did so more than a decade earlier.
The best chance that Los Angeles has to acquire Howard may lie with Lakers center Andrew Bynum, but would Kupchak and owner Jerry Buss part with their young center in favor of Howard?
I know that sounds silly when you look at both players and what they have accomplished so far in their young careers, but there are some advantages that Bynum has over Howard.
For one, Bynum's fundamental skills are far ahead of Howard's at this point, and that edge actually translates on both sides of the ball.
Howard has won the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year award the past two seasons, and rightfully so, but in truth Howard's man-to-man defensive skills are lacking.
Howard is a great team defender, and the league's best deterrent at the rim, but he has shown poor mechanics and footwork when forced to defend an opponent one-on-one.
Bynum has great defensive footwork in the paint, and he understands the principles of solid man-to-man defense in the post.
Howard's strength and athleticism make him a dominant force on the offensive end, and the work that Howard did with former NBA great Hakeem Olajuwon is finally beginning to show in his game.
One of the main knocks against Howard has been his inability to play with his back to the basket, but this season Howard has made a visible effort to improve in that category.
Bynum benefited from the tutelage of former Lakers great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Jabbar went as far to say that Bynum has some of the most impressive post potential he has ever seen in a young center.
Of course, the elephant in the room with Bynum is his health. Ironically, that could make a deal for Howard more likely than not.
It's doubtful that Orlando general manager Otis Smith will run the risk of losing Howard for nothing in free agency, and what better deal could he get for Howard than another young, talented center?
Right now any Laker interest in Howard is just speculation, and if Kupchak does indeed have designs on signing Howard he's not revealing his intentions.
But the player movement in Miami and New York has created a new atmosphere in the NBA, and if the Lakers don't adapt to it, they run the risk of being strangled by it.
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