The DwightMare is officially over and all Los Angeles Lakers fans can finally breathe a collective sigh of relief. Many dreaded the moment that all NBA fans outside of Los Angeles had speculated about, the day that Dwight Howard would walk away and the Lakers and receive nothing in return. For most franchises, this could be fatal, as proven by the Orlando Magic who endured such circumstances twice at the hands of Jerry West and Mitch Kupchak with the Lakers’ Franchise. Teams like the Magic must endure these fatal wounds when stars become fickle, yet the Lakers are granted years of continued fortune and success.
After last season, it is hard for one to argue that the Lakers will be a playoff-caliber team, especially after losing their two most valuable defenders, Metta World Peace and Howard. However, these moves have worked in the favor of one man, head coach Mike D’Antoni. While losing these defensive stars, the Lakers have acquired quite the bevy of offensive skill players for cheap including Chris Kaman and L.A. natives Nick Young and Jordan Farmar.
With Pau Gasol most likely moving to center and Jordan Hill alongside him, the Lakers are quickly becoming a D’Antoni offensive-minded team. Meanwhile, clearing millions in cap space to acquire disgruntled and championship hungry stars in the Free Agent class of 2014.
Some of the prime targets that the Lakers are chasing for next offseason include LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. Reportedly, the two share a desire to play together, and Los Angeles seems like the only viable candidate at the moment that is able to make this union happen.
For this year, the Lakers are focused on building off of the chemistry that began forming at the end of last season. The key concern remains to be the health of this aging roster. With eyes towards 2014, do Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant and Gasol have a couple more years in them to attract some more free agents and make another run at the title? If so, the Lakers will be a prime landing spot for players like Melo and LeBron, who are chasing championships.
Although the Lakers embarrassingly executed a marketing campaign to keep Howard in L.A., only to lose to a “Little Town” like Houston. But the Lakers might have lucked out as they did when they traded Bynum last year at the height of his value only to see him not play a game since. Losing on Howard allows D’Antoni to inherit a more compatible roster with more flexibility to acquire more mature, polished and Kobe-Compatible talent in the summer of 2014.