Does Adding Dwight Howard Make the Los Angeles Lakers Better?
The Los Angeles Lakers were part of a four-team blockbuster trade that sent Dwight Howard from the Orlando Magic to the Lakers. In exchange, the Lakers got rid of their center, Andrew Bynum, who is now with the Philadelphia 76ers.
The trade is considered a huge success since the Lakers were able to trade just Bynum and not Pau Gasol as well. This enables Los Angeles to have two of the best big men on their frontcourt. Along with point guard Steve Nash, this is the second big move the Lakers have made during this offseason, which now puts them in championship contention with the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
However, if you take a step back and look at this trade, you will realize the Lakers really don’t gain anything from this. Howard is considered by most to be the best center in the league, but Bynum is right there with him. Bynum has shown that his range of skills on the offensive side of the ball is better than Howard’s and his defense is close to the level that Howard is on.
Also, Howard is not coming into the trade willing to sign a long-term extension. With the way Howard handled his situation in Orlando, one can only expect the same kind of attention in free agency. The Lakers shouldn’t have taken this trade without the guarantee of Howard signing a long-term contract. If Howard walks at the end of the season, the Lakers will be be in a big hole for the future. Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash are both aging superstars who don’t have much time left in the league, while Gasol seems to be on the trading block everyday.
So while Howard might have the superstar name power, he is on the same level as Bynum in terms of their play. Bynum was under contract and could have been the future of the team and could have helped Los Angeles win a championship this season as well. Now with Howard, the Lakers will have to wait and see if he will be willing to sign long-term with them. This move was riskier then it looks right and hopefully the Lakers won’t pay the price one year from now.
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