Mitch Kupchak can’t kill two birds with one stone, but that shouldn’t scare him away from pulling the trigger on a trade for Dwight Howard.
If the Los Angeles Lakers attempt to acquire Howard, the Orlando Magic will demand them to surrender Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. LA already traded Lamar Odom to the Dallas Mavericks; losing all three of their talented big men in one offseason isn’t the idea of change that LA had in mind this year. But there are two ways to look at the Lakers’ trio of 7-footers (6'10" rounds up).
One can look at Gasol as the most skilled post player in the NBA, or a bearded lady. With Bynum, you can see a player with the potential to be the second-best center in the league, or a one with a knee that could give out at any moment. Considering the loss of Odom, while the Lakers lost the Sixth Man of the Year, they also ridded themselves of a player that had been heavily criticized for his lackadaisical on-court attitude.
In D12, Los Angeles would get a robot with absolutely no injury-history, gifted with physical ability that makes him the best player at his position in the league by far. Superman’s dominance shouldn’t be the selling point in a swap with the Magic, though, but adding sharpshooting Gilbert Arenas (pun intended) should. According to ESPN’s Mark Stein, Arenas is interested in signing with the Lakers, Miami Heat, New York Knicks and whoever ends up dealing for Howard.
While Howard would provide a major upgrade at center, Arenas would fill the gaping hole that is the Lakers’ point guard spot. While Agent Zero is long removed from his Washington Wizards days in terms of putting the ball in the basket, he’s on a higher level than Derek Fisher and Steve Blake. And not only that, the addition would keep Arenas from teaming up with the Big Three in Miami, a factor that should influence any LA decision.
Fans opposed to a swap will point to the hole that will open at the power forward position with the loss of Gasol. Remember, Orlando would force the Lakers to take Hedo Turkoglu and his ugly contract. The 6’10” Turkoglu is capable of playing alongside Howard, as well as newly acquired big men Josh McRoberts and Troy Murphy.
After taking a step back this offseason, Los Angeles will be against the odds in their fight to return to the NBA Finals. With the additions of Howard, Arenas and Turkoglu, though, No. 6 would be within Kobe's reach.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer. Follow him on Twitter.