A Re-Up That Will Work for Dwight Howard, Los Angeles Lakers

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Lakers Should Re-Up With Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard On Verge Of Domination
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The 2012-13 season for the Los Angeles Lakers was a nightmare. Unprecedented bad luck with the injury bug, an odd scenario where the head coach was fired early followed by the Phil Jackson drama, down goes Kobe Bryant, topped off with sweep to end their season. All that (and more) taking place in a mega-market like LA. Yikes. For Dwight Howard this is his second straight difficult season, and incredibly the once loved big fella has become a lightning rod for fans spitting venom lately. I understand that there have been downs (some ups, but a lot of downs) but I do feel like D12 will re-up in LA, and I feel very strongly that it is the right move for all parties.

There is little doubt that Howard has some maturing and growing to do, but it seems to me like that gets too much play (as if a human going through a growth process is odd or weak). It is in line with every person I have ever known, yours truly included. I am a decade older than Howard and I would like to think that my thought process and maturity level are significantly higher now as a 37 year old than they were as a 27 year old (D12 is 27 currently).

I also think that Howard's health issues are not being given enough weight. Often injuries can be viewed as an excuse, but it is legit to mention it with D12 as when the Lakers acquired him they thought he would be out until January (back issues) and he himself said recently he actually could have stayed out of action until March. Instead he answered the opening game bell (October 30, 2012...way ahead of his projected return time) and all season he did his best to play through pain to help the team. The injuries led directly to his poor conditioning (poor by his standards, unreal by my standards!) which really affected his game negatively. The sad part is how it took away from his dominance on the defensive end. Howard has an absolute goal of continuing to stack Defensive Player of the Year awards, but his sub-par 2012-13 had him all the way down at no.14 for votes. Yikes, that is way below his standards and skill level.

I believe Howard when he says he will listen to what is out there for him in free-agency (why not listen, embrace and engage the free-agent process), but I also believe he wants to win in a Lakers jersey, and ultimately earn a place in the rafters for that jersey.

I think the Lakers should (and will) go all out to re-up with Howard. This slideshow article is a historic look at NBA big men legends and how they created and cemented their legends after the seemingly magical age of 28. I find it interesting that the great ones seemed to create new levels for themselves as they got older (28+...Howard will turn 28 during next season). As good as Howard has been I think his potential + what big men have done historically after 28 = big-time seasons coming up for Howard.

Let's take a look...Hit the NEXT button and away we go!

@craigballard77

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Wilt Chamberlain...Bill Russell...Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (after turning 28)

Wilt Chamberlain...Bill Russell...Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Douglas Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Wilt Chamberlain

Wilt the Stilt aka the Big Dipper accomplished a ton after turning 28...check the list...

--> Chamberlain won both of his championship rings after he turned 28

--> 3 of his 4 NBA MVP's

--> 4 of 7 All-NBA team

--> Wilt's NBA Defensive Player Of The Year awards were post 28

--> Led the Lakers to an NBA record 33 straight wins

Bill Russell

The Boston Celtics legend was awesome after he turned 28...

--> 7 of his 11 Championship rings were earned from age 28+

--> 7 of his 11 Championship rings were earned from age 28+

--> 2 of his 3 All-NBA 1st team

--> 8 of his 12 All-Star seasons

--> only NBA All-Defense 1st team

How about Kareem Abdul-Jabbar?

--> 5 of 6 NBA Titles came after 28

--> 4 of his 6 NBA MVP's came from 27+

--> amazing 14 All-Star games after turning 28

--> 4 of 5 NBA All-Defense 1st team

--> 4 of 6 NBA All-Defense 2nd team

--> 1985 NBA Finals MVP at age 38

@craigballard77

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A look at Shaq...The Admiral...The Dream (all after 28th birthday)

A look at Shaq...The Admiral...The Dream (all after 28th birthday)
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Shaq

--> All 4 NBA Titles came after his 28th birthday - 3 of those Shaq Diesel was Finals MVP

--> NBA MVP

--> 9 of 15 All-Star games

--> 1 of his 2 NBA Scoring Titles came post-28

--> 7 of his 8 All-NBA 1st Team awards

--> All 3 NBA Defense 2nd team awards

--> All 3 All-Star game MVP's 28+

David Robinson

The Admiral is no exception when it comes to historic big-men who really got going towards the elite level around age 28

--> Both NBA Titles

--> MVP

--> At 27 Robinson won Defensive Player Of The Year

--> 7 of 10 NBA All-Star seasons

--> 4 of his 6 All-NBA 1st Team and 2nd Team

Hakeem Olajuwon

--> Hakeem the Dream won both NBA Titles post-28

--> Both of his NBA Defensive Player Of The Year awards came post-28 too

--> All 3 times he led the league in blocks were after 28

@craigballard77

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Big Mo...The Captian...The Chief

Big Mo...The Captian...The Chief
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Moses Malone

--> All 3 times he led the league in blocks were after 28

--> Only All-NBA Defense 1st Team at age 28

--> only All-NBA Defense 1st Team at age 28

--> Malone got things going just prior to his 28th birthday as won MVPs at 26 and 27

Willis Reed

--> Legendary Knick won both of his NBA Titles post-28...He was the Finals MVP each time

--> NBA MVP

Robert Parish

--> The Chief won all 4 of his championship rings after he turned 28

--> 8 of 9 All-Star games came after he turned 28

Rik Smits made his only NBA All-Star team after turning 28

Fellow Canadian Bill Wennington was a role-player for the Chicago Bulls second 3-peat in the Michael Jordan-era...all 3 Titles coming after Bill turned 28 (a little Can-Con for you!)

@craigballard77

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Patrick Ewing...'Zo...Tim Duncan...Pau Gasol

Patrick Ewing...'Zo...Tim Duncan...Pau Gasol
Jayne Karim-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Patrick Ewing

--> 8 of his 11 All-Star games were 28+

--> 5 of 7 All-NBA Team awards

--> 2 of his 3 All-NBA Defense from 27+

Alonzo Mourning...Check out what 'Zo was able to accomplish after his 28th birthday...

--> NBA Title

--> Both NBA Defensive Player Of The Year awards

--> Only All-NBA 1st Team and All-NBA 2nd Team came after 28

--> Both All-NBA 1st Team Defense awards

Tim Duncan has been amazing since his 28th birthday

--> 3 of his 4 championship rings earned post-28

--> TD continues to stack All-Star appearances, and is a regular on the All-NBA Defense 1st and 2nd team...At age 27 and 28 TD won back-to-back NBA MVP awards

Since turning 28 Pau Gasol has helped the Lakers win 3 Western Conference Titles, and a pair of NBA Titles

@craigballard77

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Howard + Lakers is a Re-Up That Would Benefit Both Parties

Howard + Lakers is a Re-Up That Would Benefit Both Parties
Jayne Karim-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Even this season we saw Joakim Noah earn his first ever All-Star nod, and he is 28 years old.

I think that Howard has the skills, and despite he seemingly popular opinion I think that he can win in LA and be a star for the Lakers. If he can follow in the footsteps of previous greats then he is about to explode and dominate on both ends of the floor (especially defense).

He himself will tell you that any rumors about he and Kobe not getting along are very bogus (Kobe will tell you that too) and after being eliminated we still saw Steve Nash talk about his opinion that the Lakers are indeed the right spot for D12 going forward.

The Lakers were very close to extending Andrew Bynum only to pull that off the table and then make the Howard trade. I do not think they would do that unless they felt great about their chances to re-up with Howard long-term. We know Howard wants a max contract, and the Lakers are the only team that can accommodate that.

Even if Howard finds a situation he may want more than LA the sign-and-trade that would be required perhaps sends return assets to the Lakers that A) make it worthwhile anyway for them, or B) deplete the trading team to the point where Howard may not see them as a great fit anymore (remember when the Bulls tried to trade everyone for Kobe which would have left their roster very depleted to the point where Kobe could not be happy with it).

Right here, right now, people may not agree with me about a Lakers/Howard re-up but I think we are just too close to the nightmare season currently (it just ended so recently, and the ending was ugly). Once the dust settles and Howard considers his future I think he and the Lakers will agree that they can flourish together going forward.

@craigballard77

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