The NBA lockout is old news now and the season is in full swing. Just a few weeks ago the shortened NBA free agency period put the league into a frenzy. In the middle of that frenzy were the Los Angeles Lakers. At the time it looked like the Lakers were going to land two all stars in Chris Paul and Dwight Howard. Supremacy would have remained with the Lakers for the greater part of the next decade and multiple championship banners to add to the 16 in Staples Center.
Things didn’t exactly pan out for the Lakers in the Chris Paul sweepstakes. We all know the story by now and Chris Paul is playing for the other team in Los Angeles. Just because the Lakers couldn’t land Paul for “basketball reasons” doesn’t mean they still can’t land a big time player for a big time city. The Dwight Howard sweepstakes is still there for the Lakers.
Andrew Bynum has improved gradually since he was drafted 10th overall by the Lakers in the 2005 draft. Let it be known that he is a very hard worker and he played a vital role in back to back titles for the Lakers. However, he has never played a full season as an NBA player. A definite cause for concern moving forward. Then there is Dwight Howard who is quite frankly the best center in the NBA who plays for a team in a city he has outgrown. A team that is one superstar away from being a lottery team. Does this sound familiar? It definitely wouldn’t be the first time the NBA’s best center would leave Orlando for the glits and glam of Hollywood for a chance at multiple championships.
It’s not rocket science to know that Dwight Howard isn’t happy in Orlando. Probably because he knows they won’t win anytime soon. The team has tried to make the Magic a championship contender. They made it to the Finals in 2009 and lost to the Lakers in 5. They have been on a downward slide ever since. Dwight Howard knows this and wants out. Sounds like another big man in Orlando who realized he couldn’t win in Orlando. If the Lakers want to be the talk of the town again, Mitch Kupchak will get this deal done. The Lakers need to get this deal done yesterday. However, there is still time to do the Bynum for Howard trade but that window is closing quickly. If the Lakers are going to part with Bynum, they should part with him in a trade for Dwight Howard while there is still value in him before he becomes a free agent in the summer of 2012.
So the questions at hand are simple: do the Lakers want to contend and look to the future? Or will they stay with Bynum and miss out on the greatest center in the NBA? Or will the Lakers have to give up more to acquire Howard? These are questions that will be answered as the season moves on.
Terrance Shumake is an NBA writer for The Sports Blitz and can be contacted at TShumake@TheSportsBlitz.com