This is something that many would have found laughable just 6 months ago, but it is true. If the Lakers want to return to prominence in the Western Conference, they need to remove the peanut brained Dwight Howard from their roster. In his last year with Orlando, he managed to get a good head coach fired in Stan Van Gundy, absolutely clusterf–k everything in the way of leverage for a trade and refuse to sign an extension of any kind because he was a whiny brat who doesn’t understand how trades work for NBA teams. He wanted Brooklyn, not because they are a team who is up and coming, but because he wants to hangout with his friends and be good ole’ silly Dwight. Awww shucks! Except the reality is that he is nothing more than an average center when it comes to a teammate. He can put up points and boards, but he doesn’t possess anything that offers leadership and this should be an alarm that the Lakers and the Buss family need to take into account immediately and trade Dwight Howard.
Your current problem is your roster in general. You have very little in the way of depth and to make it worse Dwight is getting on Kobe’s last nerve. Is Kobe the best team player? No, but he is the best 1-on-1 ball player in the NBA and possibly ever. He needs a team that can take his dribble drive kickouts and drain buckets. An aging Antawn Jamison, a degraded Metta World Peace, a lackluster Devin Ebanks and a seriously wtf do you do Earl Clark are killing the Lakers (Jordan Hill and Pau Gasol currently on DL). Dwight’s numbers may be good, but his constant pouting is wearing on this team. They need freshness and new life, they need to get Kobe a second scoring option that isn’t 38 years old.
In comes the team that Howard originally wanted to go to. The Brooklyn Nets. Like it or not, they give a great package deal to give the Lakers in a trade. A mix of Gerald Wallace, MarShon Brooks, Reggie Evans, Andray Blache, and/or rookie point guard Tyshawn Taylor along with Brook Lopez and a gaggle, yes gaggle, of picks. This offers the Lakers a few good options:
1.) Get rid of Steve Blake for the love of Christ.
2.) Get an effective rotation at the SG and SF positions.
3.) Not starting Metta World Peace anymore.
4.) Brook Lopez is a better fit for Kobe and would still be effective with Nash.
5.) Did I mention no more Steve Blake?
The whole point is that the chances that Howard leaves are huge and getting rid of him for a much more reliable and trustworthy player like Lopez, opens the door to stronger chemistry. Chemistry in the NBA is nearly as important as talent. Don’t you wonder why Kevin Love has so many issues in Minnesota? Chemistry, the T-Wolves have none because of ineffective coaching, lack of trust in ownership and management and they keep spending wastefully. They signed Brandon Roy, a man whose knees are held together with fruit roll ups and Andrei Kirilenko fresh off the set of the new James Bond flick where he played an evil Russian of coarse.
The Lakers are the closest they have ever been to the bottom of the barrel and this is something that Kobe cannot fix, and he knows it. If the Buss’s don’t figure out that this was a mistake getting Howard, then they will learn the ultimate lesson when he leaves this off season and heads to either Brooklyn or Atlanta. When you have a top-3 center in the NBA act like he has and do what he has done, you need to realize that he is NOT the future of your organization. You need to be smart and tactical. Look at contracts and set yourself up for another all star team.
Kevin Love will be available in a short 4 years when the Lakers, who if having traded Howard would be sitting on a lot of money with no Gasol ($19M) and no Wallace ($9.6M) and could easily sign Kevin Love. Giving them Brook Lopez, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Love, a menacing team that could slot in MarShon Brooks and “insert point guard name here” for a solid and scary starting 5. Do what the Miami Heat did. Set your core up and set it up to protect your vulnerabilities. Kobe would be nearly 40, so adding Love helps with your outside shot, Lopez can still dominate the middle, any PG can get some penetration and Brooks is a solid SG/SF who can handle the ball well and shoot decently. You then protect Kobe and have one hell of a scary team. By then you’ll have no Spurs or Mavs to really worry about as they try to rebuild and the only teams that you worry about are the Clippers and the Thunder.
Will any of this happen? Psssh, probably not and that is the sad part. These owners, they refuse to admit anything wrong on their part. The likes of the Jets owner Woody Johnson saying he didn’t want Tebow despite openly stating he wanted Tebow, or the Cowboys Jerry Jones continuing to hire and fire at will because he refuses to admit he sucks as a General Manager, these men hold their teams back. The Lakers will promptly keep Dwight Howard who will then shop himself to the highest bidder, possibly stay in LA and cause them to continue in futility only to piss off Kobe to no end. The Lakers have a chance to right the ship, but they also need the ownership to do so and I for one, don’t think ownership is willing to admit they made a mistake. So we will have to enjoy the new Los Angeles Clippers, the Los Angeles Lackers.