Brook Lopez Injury Opens Door for Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers

Josh HoffmanCorrespondent IDecember 22, 2011

Dwight Howard may not be donning an Orlando Magic jersey for long.
Dwight Howard may not be donning an Orlando Magic jersey for long.Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

If you're a Los Angeles Lakers fan, you're likely in the baffling head-versus-heart battle.

Your heart tells you the Lakers are, well, the Lakers. They'll be fine. They always seem to be. Teams don't win 16 championships, and five in the last decade, by chance.

Your head, meanwhile, ponders the past few weeks. And oh what a few weeks it's been.

The Lakers went from landing the league's best point guard to losing the most well-liked guy in the locker room. Then the Clippers, who since acquired one Chris Paul, slapped their L.A. counterpart around—twice—and Kobe Bryant became the victim of a torn ligament in his shooting hand.

It's a lot to digest, and the season-opening back-to-back-to-back slate that starts with reigning MVP Derrick Rose's Chicago Bulls is anything but Alka-Seltzer.

The only remedy, seemingly, was Superman to the rescue. But Dwight Howard was taken off the trade block, even though some have said he might be traded to the New Jersey Nets for Brook Lopez and five first-round picks.

Well, Lopez is now out of commission for most of the season after fracturing his foot Wednesday night. So too appears to be a Howard-to-the-Nets deal.

Publicly, Orlando is trying to repair its relationship with Howard. Behind closed doors, it could be a different story. Does he believe the Magic can truly contend for a title? Does he look at how quickly Paul has virtually taken the Clippers—albeit in two preseason games—to an unprecedented level? Does he think he can do the same in another city, with another team? If so, are the Lakers, whose organization is so historically vastly superior to that of the Clippers, that team?

Think about it: If Paul can resurrect a suspect franchise, why can't Howard re-light the Lakers' one-time formidable fire?

Head over heart usually prevails, and if the Lakers' past is indicative of their future, Howard will soon be in an L.A. state of mind.