Dwight Howard Trade Rumors: Why Howard Becomes the Franchise Face over Kobe

Joye Pruitt@hoopselectSenior Analyst IDecember 16, 2011

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 18:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic blocks the shot by Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers in the fourth quarter during the game on January 18, 2010 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. 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 Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Change is on the horizon. There are powerhouses forming all over the league and surprisingly one has found shelter right in the Los Angeles Lakers’ backyard. No, it is not the apparent Chris Paul-Dwight Howard combo that Dwight Howard trade rumors supposed it may be just months ago.

The Los Angeles Clippers have literally snuck up behind Jim Buss following an embarrassing end to the Phil Jackson era and swooped in to snag the point guard that they coveted the most.

Chris Paul has officially reported to Clippers’ training camp so let Lob City begin!

Many may deem the LA Clippers' stunning boost in swagger overrated because Paul is statistically on the decline. But, what point guard is purer or more able at his position to create offense with minimal error while being the ying to another superstar’s yang? Fingers can begin to point at Derrick Rose, but Rose is no true point guard.

His growing skill set as a shoot first, drive later type of PG allows him to command a Chicago Bulls’ offense that rarely has a reliable second option. Rose would not function well in a season next to another star that swells his stats as well. Paul is perfect for the direction that the Clippers are heading and everyone, including the LA Lakers, is going to be along for the ride.

But the Lakers cannot take their lumps standing still as some around the league may hope they will. Jim Buss may be making a few wild decisions, but I cannot believe that it is with no avail. There is usually a method to the madness in Laker-ville and the result of sending away some key bench components may come to be Dwight Howard for both Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.

The Lakers are not done attempting to make some huge deals. What better deal could be made than bringing the next most coveted trade option into town and putting him in a purple and yellow jersey?

Coach Mike Brown needs a move like this to enable his questionable establishing era with the Lakers and Kobe Bryant needs him to offset any shortcomings that he may be left with.

Sending Lamar Odom away, allowing Shannon Brown to sign elsewhere in the Western Conference and possible pissing off two other important members of the Lakers’ starting roster has done ample damage to LA’s big brother team internally as well as their external image to the rest of the franchises. No one is that scared of the big bad Bryant anymore and Howard would give them a necessary addition to an iffy front court.

Okay, okay. Pau Gasol is no sucker. He is not just crap because of how he played in last year’s postseason, but he is most definitely branded with a huge question mark because of his lackluster performance. They needed him and among countless times, he could not deliver. So bringing in Dwight Howard would make Lakers’ fans and personnel ecstatic to say the least.

What would his addition do to Kobe’s incomparable image among Lakers’ fans? For now, he is still the unstoppable Black Mamba that rode into numerous championship series wins with Shaq. But, if Dwight Howard was present, how much of that attention would slink over into his direction?

Don’t forget that we are stepping into the Twilight Zone AKA the Jim Buss era. Buss, the younger version at least, is like a student assistant trying to take over the director’s role. Instead of taking notes from his predecessor, he decides to wipe half of the cast slate clean inexplicably firing some quality understudies and pissing off some star members. The play is ultimately shot to hell and everyone is walking around on stage stuttering lines in rage and the audience just does not get it.

We just do not get the Lakers anymore.

In order to reestablish some sense of identity, Buss will bring Howard into the spotlight. Before you go calling a mob of Kobe-lovers to completely obliterate my strand of thinking, remember that Buss does not really seem to hold Kobe in high regard. He did not inquire with the star shooting guard about the Mike Brown hire, nor did he take into consideration what dissembling the Lakers’ roster would do to his years on the other side of the hill. Bryant’s best years are behind him, but LA still needs him at the best he can provide to contend by any means.

Buss is the only one who does not seem to understand that or more importantly he refuses to give a damn.

Last postseason was an apparent precursor that Buss refuses to allow to happen again. At this point, bringing in Howard is his only option to save face, which has been Buss’ primary guideline for all of the failed moves he has made thus far.

He wants to create a movement and save face. Howard is his last, yet should have been his first, choice at gaining speed in the Western Conference. If Buss manages to bring him in, then it would only follow suit of the extraordinarily bad decisions that he has made up until this point to force his image ahead of Kobe’s in a Lakers’ uniform.

Does it matter that Kobe is a five-time NBA Champion? Does it phase the franchise’s assumed leader that Bryant won his fourth All Star MVP award just earlier this year? How about the fact that Kobe is also a two-time Finals MVP?

Watch Buss’ decision-making and lack of concurrence with Bryant. Does it seem like he gives an edge of a damn about how far Kobe has led this team, sometimes on his sole clutch efforts?

No. Sorry, Kobe.

Dwight Howard would be the new man in charge and the franchise would revolve around his feeding schedule to say the least. They should cater to him a tad because of what he has proven he can do and what he can bring to the table alongside Kobe Bryant. But, Buss is not going to treat the situation as a two-star project. It will be Howard’s team whether the actual players winning the games think so or not.

Howard is not going to come in with a domineering attitude expecting to be crowned the organization’s savior. But, just expect Buss to treat him as such.

Then again, all of this talk could be for nothing. Buss refuses to make the huge Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol for Dwight Howard deal that the rest of his moves have so readily been priming. He has come this far in rebuilding and has stopped short of his goals.

No Chris Paul and just maybe no Dwight Howard.

For his sake, Orlando feels a bit more generous than David Stern and New Orleans did.

"I'm not sure what the hell the direction is, to be honest with you," Bryant said.

Neither do we Kobe. Neither do we.

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