The NBA trading deadline is a day away, and everyone has a solution to every rumored deal that leaks on Twitter or whatever other outlet near them.
Over the course of the season, everyone has also developed an opinion on what the Lakers should do with their underachieving roster. For all of the Lakers’ expectations, there comes drama that has outweighed them. At 25-29, it’s safe to say that the roster could use a change. The change that everyone feels is most needed is the Lakers ridding themselves of the “Dwightmare” that comes with having Dwight Howard on your roster without a long-term deal.
For all of Dwight’s aloofness, indecisiveness, and injuries that have rendered him a shell of himself, he’s still a guy you want your team.
Trading him makes sense from the standpoint of getting assets in return so you don’t run the risk of losing him for nothing come free agency, but these things only make sense in theory.
If the drama surrounding Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul switching teams taught us anything, it should be that trading an elite-level player is both easier said than done and harder to sell to your fan base than you may realize.
Everyone lauded the Nuggets for their haul in the Carmelo traded. They did a great job considering Carmelo was able to leave after the season like Dwight is now. The problem is that even with them being a five-seed in the West today, the players they hauled in the Carmelo deal have had limited contributions to their standing today.
Danillo Gallinari hasn’t evolved into much more than what we already knew him to be, Raymond Felton went BACK to the team who traded him, Timofey Mosgov is a bench warmer, and Wilson Chandler is a backup who has struggled to stay on the court this season.
The Hornets dealt Chris Paul to the Clippers for a guy who struggles with injuries in Eric Gordon. There was also Al Faruq-Aminu and Chris Kaman, Kaman has since left the team.
You don’t trade stars in this league for the sake of getting assets that you have to convince yourself are better than they actually are.. The Lakers right now have no leverage when it comes to trading Dwight. Dwight’s back and shoulder injuries have caused his trade value to take a nose dive.
In trading Dwight to the likes of the Nets, Hawks, Mavericks, or Rockets, the Lakers would at BEST be attaining the services of Brook Lopez or Josh Smith. Being preventative is an ideal situation, but you don’t tread trade waters with the, when healthy, best center in the NBA when Kobe Bryant is on his last legs.
The Lakers are a year or two away from transitioning into a new generation. Kobe has one year left on his contract, the Lakers have no first-round picks for the next couple of years, and there is no money to go around to spend on free agents until the summer of 2015.
[caption id="attachment_1686" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="The Lakers are about to experience a transition in a year or so with the face of the franchise going from Kobe Bryant to Dwight Howard."][/caption]
It would be nice for the Lakers to have Dwight without the antics and drama, but antics and drama seem to be synonymous with both. The problem with the Lakers are less about Howard and more about the things that plagued them last season and crept over into this one.
The lack of depth, salary cap space, and youth are things that will be fixed once Kobe’s finished being the first guy since Michael Jordan to make $30 million in one season. After that, the Lakers currently have only $9.7 million on the books for 2015.
Trading Dwight for “pieces” sounds like a great idea in theory, but that’s the revolving door of the NBA: gather assets to get a big name only to trade that big name to avoid losing them then look to turn those assets into something else.
The one thing the Lakers have to lean on is the fact they have the ability to offer $30 million more than any other team can offer Dwight this summer when he’s a free agent. That’s especially key when you consider that Dwight is looking to his future in the NBA. He should be able to get one more max deal before his playing days are over, and if his injuries are as debilitating as his play and comments to the media have indicated, he’ll have a lot to ponder about when it comes to the option of leaving the Lakers.
If the Magic couldn’t get more than Brook Lopez and Marshawn Brooks LAST year when Dwight didn’t show how bad his back surgery set his athleticism back, there’s no telling what the Lakers can or cannot get today.
Even if Dwight does leave and the Lakers get nothing, take the cap flexibility and work with that. It could always be worse guys, we could be getting upset at Andrew Bynum spending more time on his hair than the court.
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