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Dwight Howard Must Fully Embrace Being a Los Angeles Laker

The off-season drama that seemed would never end, has finally ended, for now. Dwight Howard will become a member of the Los Angeles Lakers via a four team trade, which will send Andrew Bynum packing from L.A.

After all the back and forth from Howard over the past year or so, I’m glad he’s found a new home, albeit a potentially temporary home, but at new home none the less. In the end, Los Angeles was the only possible destination for Howard. Brooklyn, Houston, and Dallas were no longer realistic options. The Lakers had the players to get a deal done, and the Orlando Magic weren’t about to go through another year of this, and not get anything in return.

Forget about the last few months of endless trade talks, and the end result is an All-Pro center, and multiple time defensive player of the year, going to a team that already figures to be in contention for a championship.

I’m not even a Dwight Howard fan, but I’m excited to see him team with Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash. Love or hate the Lakers, love or hate Nash, Bryant, or Howard, there will be some damn good basketball played at the Staples Center next season…

Is Los Angeles Howard’s preferred place to play basketball? No, he’s made that clear, but I’m hoping he makes the best of this situation. He needs to embrace being a Laker, and the situation he’s been put into this year. One year is all it has to be, if Howard wants to become a free agent, he can.

All indications so far are that he will not sign a long-term deal. The Lakers are banking on Howard wanting to sign after he experiences the championship culture of their franchise.

If Howard doesn’t want to play in L.A. long-term that’s fine, but he’d better give it all he has this season. He doesn’t have to love this trade, but he needs to accept it and make the best of it. It’s not fair to him, the fans, or the game if doesn’t.

Putting on a Laker uniform is a privilege that shouldn’t be taken lightly by any player.

The reality is that he’s been dealt to one of the most storied franchises in the history of sports, with a legitimate chance to win a title right away. How could an athlete ask for much more?

The way Dwight Howard handles himself this upcoming season will go along way towards cementing his legacy, for better or for worse. Many like myself have grown tired of him in recent months, but I’m certainly willing to wipe the slate clean and give him another chance.

A chance at what? To prove that he’s a true professional. That’s all I’m asking of Dwight Howard, to be a true pro and give it all he’s got every night. I don’t want to see the constant complaining to the officials, and I don’t want to see him joking around with teammates all the time.  I want to see a serious, focused, all-in Dwight Howard.

I do believe the Laker culture will rub off on him, as well as the attitude from his new teammates Bryant and Nash. This latest Big Three has all the potential to go toe-to-toe with the best in the league, if Dwight Howard commits. If so, I have no doubt the Lakers will be in Western Confernce Finals in 2013.

Follow Andrew Fisher on Twitter @the_realfish

Photos courtesy of US Presswire.