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Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Howard-Bynum Trade Would be Good for All Concerned Parties

In his most recent column, Kevin Ding makes a point that I have been emphasizing for more than a year: the most likely way for the L.A. Lakers to vault back into legitimate championship contention is to trade Andrew Bynum for Dwight Howard. Ding also notes that such a deal would be good for all concerned parties--not just Howard and Bynum individually but also both the Lakers and the Orlando Magic.

Ding explains why the trade works for Howard and the Lakers:

The Lakers need a healthy dose of gambling's fear to bring out the best in them--and the prospect of trading for Howard and losing him for nothing in a year is certainly plenty scary.

But the reality is that there are benefits awaiting the Lakers even in that worst-case scenario that could easily be explained by Dwight again being a loon who fails to listen to reason: What can you do if the goofy dude walks away from far more money from the Lakers because he wants to dress up like a cowboy in Dallas or curl all the way up into the fetal position in hometown Atlanta?

The Lakers are already absolutely opposed to paying monster salaries to Bryant, Gasol and Bynum in 2014-15, so even if it's just Bryant and Gasol (or whomever Gasol is traded for) left in 2013-14, the Lakers get a head start on major change and their necessary evil of getting under the luxury-tax plateau.

Ding notes that Bynum and the Magic also would benefit:

Trading Howard for a bunch of expiring contracts or unspectacular potential, mostly what everyone but the Lakers is offering, is hardly the means to renewing any optimism in Orlando. And it was clear from new Orlando general manager Rob Hennigan's tone during a news conference Monday that he appreciates his community's need to move forward as soon as possible with players who are committed to the cause and understand winning.

For all his quirks, Bynum does know what it takes, has no qualms about leaving the Lakers and is sincerely eager for a team to call his own. He is predisposed to knee injuries, but he is getting his second consecutive healthy summer to build himself up. He already became the bona fide best other center in basketball--and one who happens to be two years younger and in a contract situation to commit right now long-term to Orlando, precisely what Howard would not do.

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posted by David Friedman @ 1:57 PM



At Wednesday, July 04, 2012 3:50:00 PM, Blogger Daelix said...

I think if any one player acquisition in the NBA not named LeBron James could put the Lakers back over the top, it's Dwight Howard. While I feel he's not quite the offensive juggernaut that Shaq was in his prime with Kobe, he's obviously the best big in the game hands down. A Kobe-Gasol-Howard trio would be seriously scary.

And I think Bryant is at the point in his career where his prestige and experience will allow him to be the leader that a guy like Howard needs. What I mean by this is, guys like Howard and formerly LeBron before he manned up and did his job as the best there is, who complain about needing 'help' don't have (at that point in their career) that true 100% alpha dog mentality. They're still thinking like a beta, because the true alpha persona feels they're going to win regardless of the odds. I think Howard (if he can get over himself just a little bit) would benefit immensely from having a serious, success-driven no-nonsense grizzled veteran superstar next to him. I think it would keep his head in the game.

And of course, the Magic get a significant piece in return and get rid of a head case. A team like LA can absorb anything that Howard does; Orlando cannot.

At Wednesday, July 04, 2012 5:37:00 PM, Anonymous Charles said...

Agreed on this point. Even if LA has to take back one of Orlando's worse contracts I think they have to do it.

There is the risk that Howard will leave but where will he go? Brooklyn has mortgaged its future with Wallace, Johnson, and (possibly) Williams. It has nothing left to trade for him right now and likely can't sign him to a lucrative deal next year.

Rolling the dice and trying for one last with a Kobe-Howard-Gasol combination (or whatever package they can get in return for Gasol) is a worthy gamble.

The main things I can see holding back this trade are whether Bynum will agree to an extension beforehand and the status of Howard's back.

I have heard rumors about Atlanta joining the bidding but it's unlikely that they will offer a package including Horford when they will not be a championship contender even if they do get Howard. So far LA is the only team expressing interest that is in position to potentially make an immediate championship run with Howard.

At Thursday, July 05, 2012 3:40:00 AM, Anonymous Chris said...

This is such an obvious trade for both parties that it's mind boggling why it hasn't happened yet. There are at least two reasons why the Lakers should not worry about trading for Howard even if he doesn't want to go to LA:

1) The Lakers will own his Bird Rights and will be able to offer Howard a larger contract than any other team at the end of the season.

2) A core of Kobe/Howard/Nash/Gasol (or equivalent player acquired via trade) would likely contend for a championship and would make it difficult for Howard to leave such a contender.

At Saturday, July 07, 2012 10:56:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


"A team like LA can absorb anything that Howard does; Orlando cannot."

This is an excellent point from Believelander. Drama like this can derail a smaller market team. In Los Angeles, it's just a blip on the radar. Lakers have won rings in the midst of this kind of stuff. Their three most recent pre-eminent superstars (Kobe, Shaq and Magic) have all demanded trades at one point or another.


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