Dwight Howard, Chris Paul to LA and NY: NBA Needs Lakers, Knicks More Than Ever

Dan Favale@@danfavaleFeatured ColumnistMay 20, 2011

Dwight Howard is one of three 2012 free agents that are already generating a lot of rumors in regards to potential destinations.
Dwight Howard is one of three 2012 free agents that are already generating a lot of rumors in regards to potential destinations.Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

With the Heat still alive in the NBA Playoffs, many who determined Miami's free agency binge to be a waste are singing a different tune.

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh got off to a very rocky start this season, but now they seem to have found a way to play off each other.  Yes, sometimes they exhibit signs of a Miami team who has not figured it out yet, but we cannot deny reality.

And the reality is that the Heat are still battling their way toward an NBA title, in only their first season of their superstar powerhouse experiment.  Very few people had the big three winning a title in their first season together, especially after their auspicious start.  

But now Miami has other organizations wondering if it is time to take the same route, and who can blame them?

Enter the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks, two teams in pursuit of what Miami already has.

Furthermore, enter Dwight Howard, Chris Paul and Deron Williams, the latest players holding the potential structure of the NBA in their hands.

The Knicks are no strangers to the powerhouse concept.  Ever since missing out on the opportunity to sign a second premiere free agent this past Summer, New York's goal has been to put together a big three that could rival that of the Heat's.

With Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire already in place, the Knicks are one player away from achieving their goal.

Unlike New York though, Los Angeles is new to this concept.  They have always been about having a centerpiece to their team, and surrounding said someone, mainly Kobe Bryant, with more than capable role players like Lamar Odom.

However, after this year's postseason meltdown, the Lakers have their eyes on obtaining the Orlando Magic's Howard to pair along side Bryant.  What's more is there is a general consensus that they do not want to stop there, and will make a play via trade for the New Orleans Hornets' Paul or New Jersey Nets' Williams.

Clearly the powerhouse concept is contagious.  And while many are critical of such a concept, believing that it ruins competition within the league, the fact of the matter is that star-packed teams are essential to furthering the success of the NBA.

How you ask?

Well there are the obvious reasons for starters.  Super-teams not only sell out home games, but away games as well.  Love them or hate them, fans everywhere wants to be present to experience the atmosphere when the Heat come to town.

And then there's the simple fact that these teams catch the attention of new fans.  People who weren't purchasing team memorabilia or attending games before, are now.

But it's more than that.

While many argue that such teams would kill the league's competition, it is actually the opposite.

Take the Lakers and Knicks.  Both teams play in big markets, but if they complete the formation of a super-team, their market becomes even larger, and more profitable for the NBA.

Some may then argue that such teams kill smaller markets.

Wrong again.

Teams like the Heat, Knicks and potential Lakers give the rest of the league teams to gun for.  You better believe that when a team like Memphis plays a team like Miami, they are playing a heck of a lot harder than if they were facing Indiana.

Powerhouses give other teams something more to play for, thus enhancing the competition, not killing it.  Opposing teams embrace the opportunity to be the ones that prove the powerhouse concept ineffective.

Most importantly though, what the Lakers and Knicks are doing is keeping the NBA relevant year round.

Remember the insanity that ensued this past Summer, even after free agency was determined?

Speculation regarding how the Heat would fair dominated headlines the entire offseason.  Whether it was good press or bad press, it was still exposure.  Never has the NBA been a league that is talked about consistently year round, like the NFL, but times are changing now.

 The playoffs are not even over and already discussions regarding the direction of the Lakers and Knicks are running wild and will inevitably lead to a frenzy such as the one we witnessed this past Summer.

Do they Lakers actually prefer Deron Williams?

Will Chris Paul wind up with the Knicks?

Is Dwight Howard on his way to being a Laker? 

This is only a mild taste of the level of speculation surrounding Los Angeles and New York, and no matter what you may read or feel, the NBA could not be more thrilled.

After riding the coattails of LeBron James' impending free agency the past couple of years, the NBA is not prepared to leave center stage, making such speculation regarding the Lakers and Knicks a necessity.

Even beyond the speculation, should the Lakers and Knicks potential star-studded rosters become a reality, the NBA will remain a main attraction for years to come.

Howard, Paul and Williams are the James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh this side of "the decision," as long as they remain on the open market, via trade or free agency, the Lakers and Knicks will remain in play.

And as long as Los Angeles and New York are in play, a triage of powerhouse teams remains a possibility and creates year round buzz for the entire league.

Whether you embrace it or reject it, the powerhouse concept generates hype.  A hype the NBA has rarely experienced before, yet has come accustomed to.

And the Lakers and Knicks, are the NBA's ticket to ensuring such hype becomes a tradition.


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