A 17-24 Los Angeles Lakers record after a summer full of changes that were meant to bring a 17th championship to Los Angeles has the Lakers in the spotlight, but for all the wrong reasons.
Many are beginning to question whether the pieces on the roster are cohesive enough to gel and make the playoffs as a lower seed, or if the Lakers should cut their losses and trade Dwight Howard rather than risk losing him in free agency this summer. There’s even a trade rumor of Howard to the Brooklyn Nets resurfacing. But trading Howard so soon would be silly.
Howard is coming off of back surgery and his play has been erratic, but he’s also averaging 17 points and an NBA-best 12.3 rebounds per game. It would be foolish to give up on the potential rewards the Lakers can still reap if they can re-sign him to a long-term deal. Yes, they may be struggling this year, but the Lakers will need a star to become the face of the franchise once Kobe Bryant retires, and Howard has a big enough personality and game to fill that void.
Howard’s game may not be suited to coach Mike D’Antoni’s system right now, but with the right roster shifts and adjustments Howard can become part of the same deadly pick-and-roll combination that Amar’e Stoudemire was with point guard Steve Nash. There is still time to make it work.
A team doesn’t trade one all-star center for another then give up on him a few months into his tenure with them. The Lakers are one of the smartest franchises in the business; history leads us to believe they’ll figure this out sooner than later.