OK, the NBA All Star break is over, and none of the major trades that have been rumored all year have been executed. Clearly the top name being bandied about is Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard, who incidentally didn’t really have a very good All Star game. Now there is a great deal of talk of a package being put together for Howard that would leave him as a Los Angeles Laker. Rumors of some discomfort at playing with Kobe Bryant not withstanding, it is a hell of a package of talent coming back to Orlando if the story is true.
Orlando is said to be receiving Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum from the Lakers, as well as Toronto point guard Jose Calderon in exchange for Howard, forward Hedo Turkoglu and Jameer Nelson. It’s a hell of a package.
Let me go on record as stating I am convinced that the Magic will move Howard before the trade deadline. Magic General Manager Otis Thorpe has never been shy about pulling the trigger on big deals, and he is going to pull the trigger on a deal rather than risk getting nothing over the summer.
With that said, the Lakers deal is far better than anything that the Dallas Mavericks or Chicago Bulls can offer. Even a deal of Chicago’s Joakim Noah and Luol Deng, or the Nets offer of center Brook Lopez plus pale in comparison. So if Howard is moved, it looks like it might be the Lakers who get him.
But will that be enough to get the Lakers into the title picture? Although any team with Kobe Bryant has to be considered a title contender, trading two all star seven footers for Howard will severely affect their rotation. Besides Kobe, the number one factor in the Laker’s most recent titles was size. This would effectively rid them of their three biggest players from that era (Lamar Odom went out via trade pre season).
The sneaky upgrade for the Lakers is getting Nelson, who is a serviceable point guard, to upgrade on the aging Derek Fisher, but there is talk of them adding Rasheed Wallace to the frontline to help compensate for the loss. Really Rasheed Wallace? Well, Antoine Walker is also out there, and possibly Brian Scalabrine may be available.
Turkoglu is years removed from the time where any team saw him as a fit to their system, so it will take the Lakers time to see if he can even be useful.
The bottom line, is that the Lakers may be overpaying for Howard, this deal actually would diminish their chances at a title.