Yesterday (August 9), reports indicated the Los Angeles Lakers were on the verge of trading Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol via a four-team deal in order to acquire Dwight Howard, the talented and enigmatic Orlando Magic center.
In a flash, late last night, the Lakers achieved what NBA royalty generally achieves - to improve against all odds whether it is through free agency or trade. When David Stern disallowed a Chris Paul deal last season, it merely delayed them.
Yesterday, it was conceivable to believe the Lakers had taken a desperate plunge, trading two very good players, one of which a budding superstar in Bynum, for a skilled head case in Howard. It was very un-Laker like, and seemed to indicate they were willing to take a risk to overcome the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Today, it appears more like the typical swindle of great NBA franchises, the kind that keep teams like the Lakers, Celtics, Bulls, and now the Miami Heat head and shoulders above the rest. The Lakers managed to maintain Gasol, who, for all the criticism and flaws, is a critical player in the team's front court. Now, with Gasol, Howard, Steve Nash, and Kobe Bryant, suddenly the Lakers are an All Star team, probably still a notch below the Thunder, but more relevant.
Sure, you can argue that, in time, Bynum might be more impactful than Howard. But now, we're likely to see a motivated Howard, one ecstatic to be free of Orlando, and losing. For the time being, perhaps, he may re-assume superstar status. It was a risky deal with Gasol leaving - much less of one with him remaining.
You also might ask from across the country, why it is the New York Knicks can never orchestrate steals such as this one. When the Knicks acquired Carmelo Anthony, they had to virtually gut the team to accomplish it. The Lakers manage to secure top-level talent, and maintain power and skill around him.
You can be certain that, if James Dolan were negotiating this deal, Pau Gasol would be on a flight right now to a place other than Los Angeles.
Glenn Vallach has been a basketball fan, player, and coach during his lifetime and, as such, an ardent follower of the NBA even with all its warts. He have also been a New York Knick fan since the days of Howie Komives and Walt Bellamy, when he regularly boarded the IRT Subway at 180th Street in the Bronx for a trip to the Garden to see his heroes.
•Yahoo! Sports New York Knicks page
•Yahoo! Sports Kobe Bryant page
•Yahoo! Sports Dwight Howard page
•Yahoo! Sports Pau Gasol page
•Yahoo! Sports Andrew Bynum page
• Adrian Wojnarowski, Yahoo! Sports, Lakers finalizing trade for Dwight Howard
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