D-12 says leave me alone to think about future
The NBA free agency period doesn’t officially begin until July 1st, but there’s already plenty of chatter going around about, arguably, the best and most controversial free agent. Dwight Howard. Let’s be real. D-12 holds all the cards…..and he knows it. What’s there really to think about? No team can pay him as much as the Lakers, but it just wouldn’t be Dwight to make this a drama free experience. Just like he did in Orlando. What about the Purple and Gold though?
The Lakers have to be proactive in this situation. I mean, all we’re talking about here is the future of one of the most storied and successful franchises in the history of sports. There’s no way the Lakers can’t be at least a little worried about having Howard be the cornerstone of the franchise after Kobe retires. Actually, the Lakers should be downright paranoid of handing over the keys to the franchise, that once belonged to the likes of Wilt, Jerry, Kareem, Magic, Shaq, and Kobe, to someone as fickle as Dwight Howard.
Not saying I’d definitely trade him, but if I were the Lakers, I’d be working the phones and shopping Howard as hard as possible. He will be tough to trade, so the Lakers should be careful and keep all options open. There are only a few teams Dwight will consider joining, and I don’t think either of them alone, have the pieces to satisfy the Lakers needs. At least a third team would probably have to be involved to make a deal work. The Lakers have to try to make it happen, though.
There’s no denying, forward Pau Gasol and Howard had success together late in the season, and helped L.A. make the playoffs. I just don’t see that working long term. Playing two bigs together is a lost art in the NBA. Especially, when it forces a player to play out of his comfort zone, like it did to Gasol. Teams now spread the floor with athletic wing players that run the floor, are good outside shooters, and are capable of defending multiple positions. The Lakers have NO one with those capabilities. They also need help at point guard. I don’t think they need the likes of a Chris Paul, but they need someone that at least has a prayer of slowing down the likes of a Chris Paul, while doing a little scoring of their own.
No player on the Lakers roster is as attractive to other teams, as Howard is. But, what about Kobe? He’s said he wants Gasol and Howard back next season. Honestly, keeping them and getting Kobe back sometime next season is the Lakers best recipe to win now. So, you can bet Kobe will be in touch with Dwight quite a bit, to convince him to stay. You can also bet, that Kobe’s rehab will have a lot to do with Dwight’s decision to come back to L.A. or not. Stay tuned. This will be very interesting.