We’ve all grown tired of the Dwight Howard trade talk over the last 2 years. He’s going here, no he’s going there, no he’s not going anywhere. His sometime petulant and adolescent attitude only made the drama harder to stomach. Howard’s insistence that he would only sign an extension with the Brooklyn Nets, a team that made what was arguably the weakest attempt at acquiring the NBA’s best center, all but assured he would turn to free agency after one more year with the Orlando Magic. Mitch Kupchak and the Lakers had other plans and dropped the hammer on a blockbuster deal involving 4 teams and multiple players and draft picks according to Yahoo Sports. The Lakers gave up Andrew Bynum and a 1st round draft pick and received Dwight Howard in return. Will the addition of Howard and a couple of aging former superstars equal a championship team? If the Lakers can sign Howard to an extension can Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard co-exist for a few more years until Kobe retires?
After losing to the eventual champion Dallas Mavericks in the 2nd round of the 2011 playoffs the Lakers were rubbed out of the 2012 playoffs in 5 games by the younger, faster, and hungrier Oklahoma City Thunder. Younger. Faster. Hungrier. This offseason the Lakers have acquired 38 year old Steve Nash and 36 year old Antawn Jamison. Both Nash and Jamison still have something left in the tank but are hardly their former superstar selves. A potential starting lineup of Nash, Bryant, Howard, Gasol, and Metta World Peace looks nasty on paper but can each of the high mileage superstars stave off the injury bug for a full 82 game regular season? With a bench made up of Jamison, Steve Blake, Jordan Hill and not much else this starting lineup will be expected to log serious minutes. The Lakers have been active this offseason getting older and slower. Did they get better? We’ll know by Christmas.
Dwight Howard should be the best player on the Lakers during the 2012-2013 season. He’s in his prime and has improved his skills every offseason. Nash, Gasol, and Artest will have no problem deferring to the new big man in town but can Kobe modify his game and play with an upper tier point guard and the best center in the league? My guess is Kobe will do whatever it takes to bring the Lakers’ 17th title home but his alpha status on this Laker team will be challenged by Howard. Mitch Kupchak may have Howard penciled in as the centerpiece of the post-Kobe era which is fast approaching. Dwight Howard could dominate the L.A. sports scene if he decides to sign a long term extension with the Lakers.
Dwight Howard has finally been traded and the drama surrounding that circus is over. The only problem is his new team may have more questions than answers after this season is over if he doesn’t deliver Los Angeles a championship.