Dwight Howard. What more needs mentioning?

The Facts:

Dwight Howard. Dwight “Superman” Howard. Dwight “the Man Child” Howard… is coming to the Los Angeles Lakers. In a four team deal agreed upon early Thursday evening, the Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers. Philadelphia 76ers and Denver Nuggets have created a deal that would send Howard to the Lakers. The Lakers will ship Andrew Bynum to the 76ers while Orlando will send Jason Richardson to Philly. In return Philly will send Andre Iguodala to the Nuggets. Finally, the Magic will receive Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Nikola Vucevic, Moe Harkless and one future first-round draft pick from each of the other teams involved.

Dwight Howard has maintained his initial position, stating that he will not sign an extension with the Lakers, meaning he will become a free agent at the end of next season.

My Take:

As a Lakers fan, I can honestly say this is an incredible deal. The Lakers got rid of a player who was not willing to give the game 100% of his effort every night, for a player who is known for just the opposite. In addition to that, they manage to hold on to Pau Gasol, making the Lakers 2012-2013 starting line-up look like: Steve Nash and Kobe in the back court; Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard in the front court. Wow. Move over Miami, the Lakers are officially the favorite to win a title next year.

The Magic also benefit from this deal in that they shed cap space by trading Dwight and Jason Richardson, while also allowing themselves room for growth with all those incoming draft picks.

Meanwhile, the Sixers have improved their team across the board. They get the second best center in the league in Bynum, a decent wing player in Richardson and in addition to that have a majority of their roster from last year still intact. Although they won’t beat Miami in a 7 game series, they will definitely cause them problems with the talent they just received.

Finally, Denver benefits from the trade by upgrading their roster while simultaneously decreasing their spending. It’s very rare that a GM is capable of doing both things successfully, but Masai Ujiri has definitely done well for himself with this trade.

Now, many are thinking: “If Dwight won’t sign an extension, then there is potential that he will walk at the end of the season and the Lakers have given up a player with tremendous up-side for nothing.”

To those skeptics, I say relax. Although Dwight won’t sign an extension, the Lakers now hold his Larry Bird rights, meaning they can offer him more money than any other team in the league during his free agency. Furthermore, Mitch Kupchak has proven time and time again that he doesn’t make poor moves. In fact, IF people think it is a poor move, that helps him surprise the league even more (think trading Caron Butler for Kwame Brown… then turning Kwame Brown into Pau Gasol and two NBA Championships).

To me, the real MVP of all of this is Mitch Kupchak. He has consistently proven that he is one of the best, if not the best

general manager in the NBA. By securing Dwight in this trade, he showed he is not only thinking about the Lakers’ near future, but is also considering what the team will look like 5 to 7 years from now. He has made brilliant move after brilliant move since trading Shaq away (I’m NOT including that as a brilliant move) whether the trade is vetoed (eh-hem CP3) or not. Once again, he has managed to shock the league and the world with his ability to make sure that the Lakers are always in the conversation for title contention.

Until next time…

3 thoughts on “Dwight Howard. What more needs mentioning?

  1. I agree that the move 100% makes the lakers better. But we will not see Howard until christmas with him still recovering from major surgery. Also I am curious to see how he and Steve Nash, who also has a history of back problems, are going to cope for the whole season, with an expected long playoff run running the fast break. Yes the starting 5 look amazing, but there is basically no bench. They signed a few players, but we have yet to see how they will mesh with the team. This team is going to wear down and fast if they get the same production from the bench as they did last year and the year before. If the bench is not productive then the starters are easily looking at 38-42 minutes a game. Something Steve Nash and Kobe I am afraid cannot do night in and night out in this stage of their career. Do you think that OKC will pose a threat? I think Kevin Durant isn’t even at his peak yet, which makes him scary. I also think the Lakers are favorites, but I don’t think it will be as easy as it seems. OKC is too young and too good to look past. I actually fear them over Miami because if in the finals, if Kobe and LeBron were on the same court, Kobe’s mental drive and toughness would eat LeBron alive. What do you think about OKC and Miami?

    1. I agree that OKC poses a bigger threat than Miami because of their youth and athleticism. Durant, like you said, is nowhere near his prime and is already an offensive nightmare. In this last series between the Lakers and OKC, however, the Lakers were only a couple made shots or defensive stops away from going to the Western Conference Finals. That’s not to say that OKC won’t improve from last year, but rather that the Lakers know what they need to do to beat OKC now more than the Thunder know what it will take to beat the Lakers this year. OKC is pretty much the same team, but the improvement for them will come on a personal level. It has yet to be seen what impact playing for Team USA will have on Durant. When Lamar Odom, a player nowhere near as great as Durant, played on the Olympic team, he started the following season in mid-season form and as a result, posted the best numbers he had as a Laker. It’s no surprise that he also won 6th Man of the Year. If playing for Team USA can have that effect on Odom, I can only imagine what it will do for Durant.

      The Lakers, however, are in much better position to take OKC out. The main problem they had last post season was a stagnant offense that would fold during the 4th quarter against OKC’s explosive up-tempo play. Nash alone should be enough to solve that problem, assuming Mike Brown utilizes his skills properly. Also, keep in mind the Lakers won’t even be running the same offense. They are switching to the Princeton Offense, which is basketball’s next closest thing to the triangle. Hopefully, rather than forcing up shots in the 4th quarter which lead to easy fast break buckets for OKC, the Lakers offense will flow more effectively, making OKC actually need to run offensive plays.

      Furthermore, a large part of OKC’s offense relies on the pick and roll, which Bynum was reluctant to guard. Dwight is one of the best pick and roll big man defenders in the game, which should make scoring even harder for the Thunder.

      When it comes to Miami, LeBron and Kobe aside, the Lakers have exactly what any team needs to be successful against the Heat: a HUGE and talented front line. The Heat won’t have any player that can guard Dwight or Gasol one on one when they are both on the floor. Joel Anthony will constantly get punked by Dwight, and if Bosh, Allen, Wade, or Lebron leave their man to double Howard… well, that’ll leave Kobe, Nash, or Gasol WIDE OPEN. All three of those players can score from just about anywhere on the floor, so closing on a wide open jumper won’t be nearly enough to stop them from scoring. Then, at the same time, there’s the swing pass option. Bosh leaves to double Howard who kicks the ball to Gasol. Lebron realizes Gasol is wide open so he attempts to close on an open jumper. All Gasol has to do is kick the ball to Metta or Kobe or Nash and there will be two easy points time and time again.

      The Lakers bench, as you mentioned, does have many question marks surrounding it. However, I do feel that there have been acquisitions made to help improve the bench dramatically. Antawn Jamison could potentially perform as the league’s 6th man. Then there’s Earl Clark, an improved Ebanks, Meeks… the list goes on and on. The best part about that list, however, is that Troy Murphy and Josh McRobert’s names are nowhere near it. Once upon a time we had to rely on players of their talent level, rather than the players the Lakers have now.

      Overall, it’s going to be tough to win a championship given the lack of chemistry the team will have at the onset of the season, but it is still HIGHLY possible.

      Until next time…

      1. My prediction for the NBA Finals, Lakers 3-0 Miami. The lakers will beat them so bad in games 1-3 that Miami wont even play game 4

Agree? Disagree? Let the World Know!