On Wednesday, July 18, ESPN's Ric Bucher reported that the Los Angeles Lakers have been working with the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Orlando Magic about a trade for Dwight Howard. Hours later, RealGM's Jarrod Rudolph added that Howard is now willing to re-sign with the Lakers after the 2012-2013 season.
The proposed trade would send Andrew Bynum to the Cavs, and the Magic would get Anderson Varejao and multiple draft picks. If you ignore all of the big money contracts that the Magic are trying to get rid of, then you'll find the framework for a decent trade. The problem is and will be Howard.
It makes me uncomfortable when I read that Howard is willing to re-sign with the Lakers after next season. We've all watched Howard change his mind multiple times in the past few months, and I simply don't trust him to sign an extension with the Lakers next summer.
Of course, there are few options out there for Howard. The Brooklyn Nets are no longer involved in trade talks after re-signing Brook Lopez, and the Houston Rockets have yet to put together a deal that has tempted the Magic to pull the trigger on a deal. However, that doesn't mean that another team wouldn't step forward and sign Howard after 2012-2013. The Nets could even get involved by moving Lopez prior to the midseason trade deadline or after the season. In the meantime, Howard could accept a deal to Los Angeles and sign with another club next July.
That's why I believe the Lakers should work on re-signing Bynum instead of trading for Howard. The Lakers have the inside track on keeping Bynum because they can offer him the most money. Both the Cavs and the Rockets would have cap space to sign him next season, but they can't offer Bynum what the Lakers can if they keep him for 2012-2013. If the Lakers get Howard now, they'd have a similar advantage; however, I have to think that it would be harder for Bynum to leave after spending years in Los Angeles.
At first glance, Howard appears to be the better option for the Lakers. He's regarded as the best center in the NBA for a reason. Yet Bynum isn't too far behind him. Howard might be better defensively, but Bynum is a much better free-throw shooter and scorer overall. Although I'm not a fan of Bynum's, I believe the Lakers are better off keeping him instead of trading for a player that I can't trust to re-sign next summer. Maybe I'd feel differently if there was a greater separation between the two players, but there isn't. The Lakers should move on and stick with Bynum.
Derek Ciapala has been a fan of the Los Angeles Lakers since childhood. His favorite Lakers' moment is when they beat the Detroit Pistons 108-105 in Game 7 of the 1988 NBA Finals. You can follow him on Twitter @dciapala or on Facebook.
- Sports & Recreation
- Los Angeles Lakers
- Andrew Bynum
- Dwight Howard
- Orlando Magic