Top 5 Fantasy Basketball centers

Dwight Howard Lakers

Dwight Howard LakersBeing 5’8 I vicariously live through every big man in the NBA. As an outstanding Center on the YMCA Green team I consistently had 2 points, 2 rebounds, and 5 fouls every game. My numbers were never fantasy worthy and probably the reason that I spend most of my time analyzing players now instead of making the effort to play. I am hoping that my son has an inkling of a chance, but unfortunately with 5’8, 5’4, 5’6, and 5’7 in the lineage, his hopes are looking very slim. The guys below tower over my ancestors and me, because of this they have the best chance of producing every night for my fantasy hopes and dreams. Below are my 2012 Fantasy Basketball: Top 5 Centers.

Top 5 Centers

1. Dwight Howard: Superman is just that, Superman. Howard is definitely my top ranked Center this year. Playing with the Lakers, he is surrounded by a cast of talented players. This potentially could hurt some of the potential scoring, but on Fantazzle’s leagues he makes up for it through blocks and rebounds. Howard averages 38 minutes per game and scores 20 points a night. This pretty much guarantees us a 20 point head start. The true scoring comes from the average of 14 rebounds a game and 2 blocks a night. I see Dwight as a consistent 30 point guy and will definitely be taking him in all limited lineup games. He may be too pricey in salary leagues, but can be worth the money if you can level out the scoring between cheaper utility players.

2. Al Jefferson:  Jefferson is the Jazz and the Jazz revolve around Jefferson. He hasn’t been as consistent in the preseason this year, but when the ball is thrown into the air for the first tip-off, Jefferson will be getting the rock. Jefferson is a 20 point 10 rebound guy every night. He doesn’t have the ability to get the blocks that Howard had, but he will be consistent. I feel like his salary point will be lower than a couple of the other guys, so he is definitely a good pickup.

3. Andrew Bynum:  In my mind, Bynum is the closest thing to Howard on the list. If he is healthy and stays healthy then he will be my pick in weekly leagues and definitely limited lineup leagues. He had an All-Star season last year and should continue his success. I predict him to have 20 points, 11 rebounds, and at least 1 block a night. Remember this, if he gets healthy and remains that way he is a great pickup. Read more…

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Lakers get Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard and Andrew BynumThe long national Dwightmare is over. According to multiple reports, Dwight Howard will be traded to the Los Angeles Lakers as early as tomorrow.

In the proposed four-team trade the Lakers will send Andrew Bynum to the Philadelphia 76ers and Philly will send Andre Iguodala to the Denver Nuggets. The Orlando Magic will get multiple players and first round draft picks from all three other teams.  Read more…

 

Why the Lakers need Howard more than Bynum to win a ring

Dwight Howard and Andrew BynumDwight Howard is the most dominant force in the NBA at his position. I say that with all due respect to Andrew Bynum the 24 year old up and coming beast that is the current Laker center and arguably the second best center in the league.

Bynum is no Howard. This should go without saying, but the proof is in the pudding to coin the old cliche’.

You say, look at those post moves and footwork that Bynum displays with ease after honing for 7 years now with help for the likes of Kareem Abdul Jabbar and surely a point or two from Kobe here and there. Bynum averaged 11.8 REBS and 18.7 PPG on .558 FG percentage from the field this past season. Not bad for a 2nd or 3rd option huh?

Bynum’s numbers speak to his skills improving dramatically over the past couple of years to the point where he is now on the path to becoming a perennial NBA All-Star and first or second team all NBA for years to come.

Still, Bynum is no Howard. Howard’s numbers are better of course, but not by much as you may be aware. 14.5 REBS and 20.6 PPG on .573 FG percentage from the field. Only 2 points and about 3 rebounds a game more than Bynum, he shoots a bit better as well. Not MVP numbers but without question the best at his position on the offensive end of the court, if not by much.

Where Howard becomes a “super-beast”, if there is such a thing, is on the defensive end of the court. He defends like no other player in the NBA today. He is now for the 3rd consecutive time the NBA defensive player of the year. With players like Lebron James, Kevin Garrnett, Serg Ibaka, and Tyson Chandler only dreaming of having his abilities to stop scorers from even thinking of driving to the rim, Howard is the lynch pin of any All-Defensive team the NBA could put together.  Read More…

Will Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert make the same mistakes?

Dan Gilbert

As we hit the two year anniversary of “The Decision”, I sit here and wonder to myself, will Dan Gilbert make the same mistake? Did he learn his lesson the first time around? Will this time be different?

Dan Gilbert took over a Cleveland Cavaliers team in 2005 that had come off its first winning season since the 1997-98 season. A Cleveland Cavalier team that had just drafted LeBron James just two years prior. With the addition of just LeBron James, Cleveland went from winning 17 games a season to going 66-16 in just five short years. The only losing season the Cavaliers experienced with LeBron James was his rookie season.From 2005 to “The Decision” all Dan Gilbert had to do was move some talent into Cleveland. Give the self-proclaimed “chosen one” some support. Instead of doing that, he brought in the likes of Mo Williams, Delonte West (who slept with LeBron’s mom), Shaquille O’Neal (who was years past his prime), Antawn Jamison (give me a break), and other no talent players. After years and years of LeBron James asking for a supporting cast, he finally got fed up and took his talents to South Beach. Miami jumped on the opportunity, got him a supporting cast, got a championship and a happy LeBron James.

After two horrible seasons and many great draft picks later, the Cleveland Cavaliers have found themselves in the same fork in the road.

The Cavaliers drafted Kyrie Irving, Dion Waters, and Tristan Thompson over the last two drafts. These players will be key pieces of the present and future in Cleveland. For some reason they are still paying and playing the biggest flopper and actor in the NBA, Anderson Varejao. Then the Cleveland Cavaliers traded away some draft picks to get a back up center at best, Tyler Zeller.

With all this talent, youth, and potential, it is time for Dan Gilbert to step up, grow a pair and be aggressive. The Cleveland Cavaliers have a chance to be a part of a three team trade that would land Andrew Bynum in Cleveland. Now granted he isn’t the best center presently in the NBA, but he could be ranked in the top five, EASILY. I am not a big Bynum fan, but I could learn to like him.  Read More….

Dwight Howard is on his way to the Lakers

Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard

The prize for the Lakers is, of course, Dwight Howard.

Supposedly, the framework for the blockbuster trade is in place. The Lakers will send Andrew Bynum to Orlando and get Howard in return.

The deal is contingent, however, on Bynum signing an extension with Orlando. No word on weather the Lakers are demanding the same from Howard.

The addition of Howard, along with recently acquired Steve Nash, would make the Lakers favorites to win a championship next season.

Reports are that Howard has already spoken to Kobe Bryant and Nash. The trade is supposed to be finalized over the weekend.

(Will be updating this story throughout the day. Stay tuned. Read the updates here..

Lakers’Andrew Bynum an Olympian?

Andrew Bynum

Andrew BynumTeam USA lost its starting center when Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic decided to undergo season-ending back surgery that also will keep him out of the 2012 London Games.

Andrew Bynum, the Lakers’ 7-foot center, would seem to be a logical choice to replace Howard except for the fact that he believes he would be better off spending the summer relaxing with a cool drink under an umbrella somewhere warm.

“Probably not,” Bynum said when asked if he would consider playing in the Olympics. “I’ve got to take care of my legs in the offseason. I’ve got some things (treatment) planned on my knees. I need it. I need to have some therapy.”

Bynum’s history of knee trouble began when he suffered a partial dislocation of his left knee in a game Jan. 13, 2008 against the Memphis Grizzlies. He tore the medial-collateral ligament in his right knee Jan. 31, 2009 against the Grizzlies.

“For selfish reasons you always worry about Andrew’s knees and health and the wear and tear on that part of his body, so the more games and more practices he has it’s more wear and tear,” Lakers coach Mike Brown said Friday morning.

“You hope he takes the summer and rests, especially after a long playoff run.”

Bynum made the Western Conference All-Star team for the first time this season and was averaging career-bests of 18.9 points and 12.1 rebounds going into the Lakers’ game Friday night against the San Antonio Spurs.

Bynum has not played for Team USA in the past, which figures to be a strike against him as the June 1 deadline for the roster’s selection approaches. The style of play in the Olympics also might not make it necessary to find a replacement for Howard.

“I think the international game is a little different, you don’t necessarily have to have a power guy or skill guy around the basket, especially the way these international teams play and the zones you face,” Brown said.

“Yeah, I think he’d be great for anybody and everybody, but it’s just a matter of what Coach K (coach Mike Krzyzewski) and his staff, and (USA Basketball chairman Jerry) Colangelo are looking for.”

Andrew Bynum should have attempted another three point basket

Andrew Bynum

Andrew BynumOne has to wonder if the thought entered the mind of Andrew Bynum, center of the Los Angeles Lakers, to attempt another three-point basket after being benched by head coach Mike Brown.

Down by as many as 19 points against the Oklahoma City Thunder the Lakers three-point shooting was pathetic as always.

The Lakers continue to be one of the worst teams behind the three-point line in the NBA, but Bynum did what he had to after being benched for shooting an ill-advised three-point shot and then not hustling back on defense. 42 minutes, 25 points and 13 rebounds doesn’t give enough credit to the presence and enthusiasm Bynum played with.

Give credit to Bynum for being the mature player and moving away from the benching issue, but he should have attempted another three-point shot, here’s why.

  • Who says big man can’t shoot?
Bynum has only attempted eight three-point baskets making only one. It wasn’t as if Bynum’s attempt was a complete miss. He had solid form but hit the front of the rim. Big men can shoot threes. Manute Bol, at 7 feet, 7 inches was one of the tallest NBA players ever. He played for the Golden State Warriors from 1988 to 1990 where in his first season he shot a career-high 91 three pointers and made 20 of them.
  • If Metta-World-Peace can shoot 3’s why can’t Bynum?
There isn’t one Lakers fan that doesn’t cringe every time Metta World Peace launches a three-point attempt. You never know if you are going to get an air ball or a make. This season the artist formerly known as Ron Artest is averaging a pathetic 25% from three-point distance, the second worst of his career.
  • For the fun of it
Immature, stupid, insane…you betcha! Some of us love to test authority and while it usually comes back to bite us in the ass, we still do it. Imagine the media hoopla that would have surrounded Bynum who stated he was going to continue to take three-point shots. If they are looking to ax head coach Mike Brown they might as well take notice of what Carmello Anthony has done. Players have the power and this would have been a serious message. How many people watched the game just to see if he did it?

Who will be the next Dwight Howard?

lopez-bynum-2

It’s no secret that this is deja vu for the Orlando Magic. This franchise went through the same exact thing back in 1996 with a guy named Shaquille O’Neal. Maybe you’ve heard of him? All jokes aside no one is laughing in Orlando right now, they are trying to keep history from repeating itself but they must act now.

Who is the right man to take over in Orlando? There has been two names that have been really floating around out there. Brook Lopez and Andrew Bynum, both 7 footers are young and bring a good game to the court. Let’s look at what each would bring to the table.

Brook Lopez 23 years old, has been in the league for four seasons now, averaging 17 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks. The stats that jump out the most is that he shoots 50% from the field and he shoots 80% from the free throw line. This guy looks strong all around and he hasn’t hit his peak yet.

Andrew Bynum 24 years old, has been in the league for seven seasons, averaging 10 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Bynum has had short seasons due to injury. Many feel that he has yet to show what he truly can do. He has definitely shown flashes of dominance at times but can he stay healthy? He also has a high field goal shooting 56% from the field but only 68% from the free throw line.

Orlando has to trade Dwight to the Nets for Lopez and some picks if they want one of the best big men in the game. Dwight will be with Deron Williams and it will be a win all around for everyone.

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Andrew Bynum: Player profile

Andrew Bynum

Andrew BynumLos Angeles Lakers’ Center Andrew Bynum is arguably one of the best big men in the NBA today.  At 7’0, 285 lbs, Bynum has the length to be an intimidating defender while possessing the footwork and strength to be an imposing offensive post player.  Born on October 27, 1987 in Plainsboro, New Jersey, Bynum was the 10th overall pick by the Lakers in the 2005 draft out of Saint Joseph High School in Metuchen, NJ.  On draft day Bynum was only 17 years and 244 days old making him the youngest player to be drafted in NBA history.

Of his six professional seasons Bynum has only remained healthy from start to finish during his second year.  The question of health has plagued Bynum’s reputation repeatedly and often subjects him to lesser rankings when compared to his NBA peers.

In 2009 and 2010 Bynum played a big part in back-to-back championships for the Los Angeles Lakers.  His 14 plus points and eight rebounds per game during the regular seasons helped establish the Lakers front court as one of the most dominant in the league along with current teammate Pau Gasol and former teammate Lamar Odom.

Being a youthful commodity with tremendous upside Bynum has often been the subject of trade rumors.  In 2007, Lakers’ superstar Kobe Bryant tried to convince the front office to deal Bynum to the New Jersey Nets for point guard Jason Kidd.  Then in 2011 the Denver Nuggets offered star forward Carmelo Anthony to the Lakers for Bynum.  And this season there is all kinds of buzz about a possible Andrew Bynum for Dwight Howard deal.  The fact of the matter is that Bynum will most likely not be traded anywhere.  He has close ties to the Lakers VP of Player Personnel Jim Buss, also from New Jersey.  Buss was the one who drafted Bynum out of high school and he wants to see his project develop and come to fruition.  Until Buss feels like Bynum can’t get any better, Andrew will remain a Laker.

Possibly the lowest point in Andrew Bynum’s young career came last season during the Western Conference Semi Finals.  With the Lakers on the verge of being swept by the Dallas Mavericks a frustrated Bynum took a cheap shot in the 4th quarter on a defenseless J.J. Barea.  Bynum was called for a flagrant foul and ejected from the game.  What made Bynum’s actions so jaw dropping was the fact the his intent appeared malicious and classless; two traits not normally associated with the Lakers.  Furthermore, Bynum has more over 100 lbs on Barea and the foul was totally uncalled for.  Bynum’s actions resulted in a five game suspension (reduced to four) to begin the 2011 season.

In the 2011-12 season Bynum is off to a tremendous start averaging just less than 18 points and 14 rebounds a game.  Those are solid numbers for any center and if he can continue to improve and stay healthy, Andrew Bynum will definitely hold the key to the future success of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Aaron Moon is the CEO and a Featured Journalist for The Sports Blitz.

The Achilles heel of the Los Angeles Lakers

Kobe Bryant Wins 4th ChampionshipThe Los Angeles Lakers’ Achilles’ heel is comprised of three components: The Oklahoma City Thunder, Andrew Bynum, and Derek Fisher.

According to the Oxford Dictionary an Achilles’ heel is “a weakness or a vulnerable point”

By far The Lakers greatest ‘vulnerable point’ is Oklahoma; if Kobe Bryant and The Lakers are comparable to Superman than Kevin Durant and The Oklahoma City Thunder are definitely the kryptonite of the scenario. The speed of this surprisingly young team is hard to believe. The elusiveness and command of Russell Westbrook, the scoring ability of Durant, and the length of the Thunder’s big men is stunning.

Durant is already putting up MVP numbers shooting just under 50% and averaging 26.2 points per game. With Westbrook’s ability to creep into the paint and score on demand, Oklahoma’s offense is top notch. Although Serge Ibaka can be an inconsistent defender, he now has the help of Kendrick Perkins one of the NBA’s premier defenders in the paint.

With Kevin Durant rivaling the clutch abilities of Kobe Bryant and Dwayne Wade, and 2 dominate defenders in the paint one almost has to wonder: what NBA team can stop them?

Not the Lakers, as much as it hurts to say. Quite frankly they’re just too slow, old and are still learning the system of Coach Mike Brown. Look for this young ‘run and gun’ team to give The Dallas Mavericks a tough time in The West this post-season.

And what does Bynum have to do with this? Let’s be honest, Laker fans expect too much. (Can you hear the Laker fans screaming?) But this is an objective viewpoint and the only reason Bynum is consistently considered one of the best is due to his potential. But there’s a problem with potential, it’s not so guaranteed as we’d like and statistically speaking, it means nothing.

Perfect example, Mr. Kwame Brown, he had the potential to be the best big man in the NBA. But with career numbers like 6.8 points and 5.6 boards he is merely average, if that. Or what about the 1977 1st round Milwaukee pick Kent Benson, who everyone forgot, don’t remember him? He was supposed to be the next greatest thing to come to the NBA in the late 70’s. Still don’t remember? He’s the guy who got punched in the face by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, in his second game, and that’s about all he is remembered for.

Still think potential counts here’s a more recent potentially great player that flopped, and is eerily similar to Bynum, Greg Oden. Portland could’ve had Kevin Durant, but Oden had so much potential! So much so that he has only played in 82 games over his 5 year career, and in those 82 games, 9.4 pts and 7.3 boards, nothing great about that.

This doesn’t mean Bynum cannot succeed in his NBA career, it just shows that great potential shouldn’t factor into his frequent [yet short lasted] big number streaks, as much as we love allowing it to. He hasn’t been able to prove any great numbers over 82 games. He is always hurt, plain and simple. You can’t help your team if you’re sitting on the bench. And if we use the past as a measure, look for him to [maybe] play 45 games this season

That being said, he is coming out strong this season. In the five games he has played Bynum is shooting 54% from the field, and just under 19 points, 16 rebounds and 2 blocks in 35 minutes of play time.

Impressive? Maybe, but don’t count on him down the stretch. Bynum, over the course of his seemingly short 7 year career, has missed over 30% of the games the Lakers have played. At the time of this article, L.A. is barely above .500 and having trouble staying there, currently at 6 – 4. He will not help The Lakers to the NBA Playoffs, and if the previous holds true we will find Bynum sitting on the bench and the Oklahoma City Thunder running up and down the battered Lakers.

Finally Derek Fisher, while a beloved fan favorite Fish has got to go for the Lakers to succeed. Only averaging slightly above 4 points and 4 assist a game, coupled with his inability to defend even the slowest of point guards in the league he is no longer needed in the starting line-up.

He is scoreless in his last two games, the amount of time he can stay on the court is decreasing, and he is becoming more and more inconsistent every game. Of course no one will forget Fisher’s 18 foot, awkward looking, fade away over Manu Ginobili with 0.4 seconds left on the clock, giving the Lakers the win over the San Antonio Spurs in the 2004 Western Conference Semi-Finals. However this occurred 8 years ago, and near the peak of Fisher’s NBA career. Unfortunately Fisher has declined greatly since his heyday and the Lakers need another man to run the point.

On the other hand no one can deny how much ‘locker room style leadership’ Derek Fisher brings to this Laker team. Keep him in the line-up, but the Lakers need a new starter for the point.

With Oklahoma playing as strong as they currently are, the injury potential of Bynum, and the lack of presence with Fisher, the Lakers are looking at a tough season and most likely will not see any games deep into the playoffs, bottom line.

Larry D is an NBA team writer for The Sports Blitz

All stats and figures credited to espn.go.com

Does Bynum make the Lakers a contender?

Andrew Bynum and Kobe BryantThe Los Angeles Lakers’ season started with Andrew Bynum serving a four game suspension for the shot he took to Jose Barea in the closing minutes of Game 4 of the Western Conference Semi Finals. During that time, the Lakers split the four games but the real story is how Bynum looked in his first game back against the Denver Nuggets. In that game Bynum scored a game high 29 points on 13 for 18 shooting and grabbed 13 rebounds. Suddenly it seemed the Lakers went from looking like a lottery contender to looking like a relevant team again.

Andrew Bynum’s presence in the post is the reason this Lakers’ team has a chance at being a legitimate contender… this year. The question remains as to whether or not Bynum alone makes the Lakers a contender? 10 games into the 66 game season, the question seems to be a bit premature. However, this is why they play seasons. Although the season is reduced, 66 is still a big number and this season will still be a grind. The fact that the Lakers are still getting used to Mike Brown’s straight forward-defense first style of basketball, the shortened season should be ample time to get a feel for each other and build chemistry. What’s a great way to build chemistry? Wining basketball games.

Since Bynum rejoined the team, he has consistently put up double – double numbers in all but one game. In that stretch, Bynum put up his first ever 20-20 game. As long as Bynum continues at this level, and most importantly stays healthy, the Lakers should win a lot of basketball games this season. Not to mention they still have the greatest closer in the game in Kobe Bryant. It’s just a matter of this Laker team gelling and coming together as a team the way Laker fans are used to seeing their team compete.

One person who was glad to see Bynum return was Pau Gasol. Not to knock on Pau Gasol, but he’s no dominant center. He may be able to play center, but let’s face it, when Laker teams won championships in the past, a dominant center was a main part of the formula. Let’s rephrase that, when dynasties won multiple championships, a dominant center was part of the formula. One and done teams like the Mavericks aren’t in this discussion. So back to Pau Gasol. What Pau Gasol is, is an integral part of what Mike Brown is trying to accomplish. Pau is a 7 foot finesse player who is more comfortable playing when Bynum is down deep in the post taking the punishment. Fans of the Lakers and basketball fans alike know what Pau can do when he is comfortable. Bynum gives him that comfort by attracting double teams in the post.

What Bynum also brings is size to the Lakers front line. He, along with the aforementioned Pau Gasol, is also a 7 footer to bring a twin tower type presence to the team. Let’s not forget that it was the Lakers’ overwhelming size that won back to back championships in 2009 and 2010. Not to mention the most powerful center the Lakers ever had in Shaq. Is Bynum and Kobe a new version of Shaq and Kobe? Shaq was in a class of his own and Kobe was in the prime of his career-so the answer to that question is obviously no. However, it doesn’t take away from Andrew Bynum making a significant difference to the Lakers. What he brings is size, depth, and consistent double figures scoring and on the boards. So back to the question at hand; does Bynum make the Lakers a contender? The answer is obvious. Put two 7 footers down in the post along with the cold-blooded Kobe Bryant at the top, and the prevalent answer everyone would say is yes. However, like it was said before, talking doesn’t win basketball games, they’re won on the hardwood.

Terrance Shumake is an NBA writer for The Sports Blitz.

 

Can Andrew Bynum carry the Lakers?

Los Angeles Lakers’ coach Mike Brown understands basketball fundamentals. If you have an athletic big man who can score, give him the rock. That’s right. Give Andrew Bynum the ball, Kobe Bryant be damned!

It’s no different from what Phil Jackson tried to do when Shaquille O’Neal was there. Sure he had a dangerous scorer like Bryant on his roster but running the offense through a low post scorer like Shaq made more sense. Shots in the paint are higher percentage shots, plus when teams would try to double Shaq it created easier shots for the rest of Shaq’s teammates.

That included Kobe. But a young, brash Kobe had dreams of being the next Michael Jordan and wanted to be the focal point of the same offensive scheme that helped Jordan attain six rings. It didn’t seem to matter to Kobe what was best for the team.

That of course was many moons ago. Different time, different Kobe. Now that Bryant has advanced in age he more than welcomes having someone help him carry this team and make his life a little easier.

Too bad that help comes in the form of Andrew Bynum. In six years with the Lakers, Bynum has only had two seasons where he played more than 54 games and only one season where he averaged more than 30 minutes-per-game.

Health issues have been a big reason for Bynum missing so much time on the court and now Mike Brown wants to make him the focal point? Get real people.

Nice storyline though. Let Bynum carry this team so the older players can rest more and be energized for a deep playoff run. If you buy that I’m pretty sure Mike Brown has some swamp land in New Jersey he wants to sell you.

No, this is obviously a ploy. General Manager Mitch Kupchak wants to boost Bynum’s value so he can trade him before the fragile big man breaks down again which isn’t a bad idea.

So it definitely pleases Kupchak to see Bynum get off to a good start. Bynum scored 29 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and swatted two shots in his first regular season game of the year. If he can sustain that effort for about a month it will be easy for Kupchak to deal him to some unsuspecting sucker for a boatload of talent or even Dwight Howard.

Then again there is always the possibility that Brown and Kupchak actually believe that Bynum has finally put his health issues behind him and is ready to cement himself as the next great Laker center. Sounds nice right? Yep, it sounds just like the stuff Hollywood dreams are made of.

Roosevelt Hall is an NBA Featured Journalist for The Sports Blitz

 

Should the Lakers choose Howard or Bynum?

Dwight Howard

Dwight HowardThe 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