Dwight Howard to Hollywood: Are the Los Angeles Lakers Still in the Sweepstakes?

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | The Los Angeles Lakers have established themselves as a franchise that is poised to compete for NBA titles each and every year, no matter what.

In an offseason where nearly every resource to improve the team had been exhausted, the front office led by general manager Mitch Kupchak found a way to land an impact player in Steve Nash.

While that move alone was a shock to many purple and gold faithful, what is no surprise is that the Lakers are still considered among the potential teams in the running to make a move for Dwight Howard.

While there are several possible roadblocks in a Howard trade to Hollywood, there are some key factors that are keeping hope alive for those clamoring for the services of D12 in L.A. For one, the Lakers have to like the opportunity to form their own "Big Three" with Howard, Kobe Bryant, and Nash, which is apparently the formula to win an NBA title in today's NBA.

Next, there has to be some appeal for Howard to play in Los Angeles given the history of the franchise and its championship pedigree. What's more is that the signing of Nash alone could give the big man major incentive to move west. One thing is certain -- the two-time NBA MVP makes big men thrive, and there is none better than Howard.

Nash and Howard could form a dynamic duo by themselves, but considering Kobe Bryant has a few good years left underneath those surgically-enhanced legs, the Lakers could be a scary team once again.

The challenges the Lakers face with respect to landing Howard are significant, though. The most glaring is the fact he has gone on record as saying he wouldn't sign an extension with the Lakers due in part to being a third option behind Kobe Bryant and most likely Pau Gasol.

The Lakers can't afford to lose on that big of a gamble.

He's also injured -- suffering a herniated disc late in the 2011-2012 NBA season. Big men don't traditionally walk away from substantial injuries unaffected, so there's a serious question as to whether or not the ailment will be a concern moving forward.

Andrew Bynum on the other hand, had his most productive and healthy season to date and also earned his first All Star selection in 2012. Is the closing talent gap between the two large enough to warrant a major (and risky) deal?

Whatever fans' feelings are on whether or not the move makes sense for the Lakers, the fact remains that they are still players in the offseason game. And what a game it is, with Howard as the most influential player in the middle of it all.

It's going to continue to be a fun offseason for the Lakers, no matter what happens.

Michael C. Jones is a Yahoo! Featured Contributor in Sports and covers the Los Angeles Lakers and the NBA. He has previously written for Southern California's Press-Enterprise and Examiner.com. For more insight, follow him on Twitter.

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