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Should The Lakers Look Into Trading Dwight Howard This Season?

Submitted by on January 8, 2013 – 11:40 amNo Comment

The Dwight Howard experiment hasn’t gone very well in Los Angeles. Last summer, the Lakers traded for the former Orlando Magic center and, in the process, had to give up their promising young talent Andrew Bynum. On paper, it looked like a great trade for the Lakers—especially after Bynum ended up undergoing two knee procedures that have kept him out of the Phaildelphia 76ers lineup this season—but, so far, it’s been anything but great for Howard and the Lakers.

First, Howard had to sit out most of the 2012 NBA preseason because of a lingering back issue stemming from the back surgery he had last spring. That made it difficult for him to build any chemistry with his new teammates Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Pau Gasol, and Metta World Peace and prevented him from getting into shape. Then, he struggled at the start of the 2012-13 NBA season as he worked to get himself into shape and became a major liability at the free throw line at the end of games. The Lakers also struggled mightily as a team—partly due to the fact that they have so many new players on the roster—and, through today, have an abysmal 15-18 record. And, most recently, Howard and Bryant reportedly got into an altercation following a game against the Sixers on New Year’s Day. So, is it time to bail on Howard and look into trading him before the trade deadline later this season?

Well, not yet. Although Howard is only signed with the Lakers through the end of this season and could easily walk away from L.A. in the offseason, it’s clear that Howard isn’t back to 100 percent health this season. In fact, it’s clear that there’s a chance that he won’t be back to 100 percent health at all this year and could have to wait until the 2013-14 NBA season to be back at full strength. But, regardless, there’s no way the Lakers could trade for another player, especially this late in the season, who could make a big enough impact this year to warrant the Lakers making a move. It just doesn’t work that way.

Further, I’d argue that what’s happening with Howard and the Lakers right now might actually be a good thing—a great thing even. While outsiders might look at the situation and say, “Howard and Bryant can’t coexist and make a championship run,” it seems to me that the Lakers are just going through growing pains as a team right now. They’re finding out what works best for them and part of that includes some bickering and fighting amongst teammates. As long as the situation doesn’t get too out of hand, it’ll only make the Lakers stronger as a team later, provided they work out whatever differences they have now.

I’m not suggesting that Lakers fans shouldn’t be worried at all. Clearly, the team has some issues that it needs to work out. But, the Lakers never made it a point to try and go 82-0 this season. They want to win a championship or, at the very least, make the playoffs and be in the running to contend for one. So, the hardships they’re facing right now are merely bumps in the road. If they can get over them without veering off the road and coming to a screeching halt, the road will be much smoother in a few months. It’s why trading Dwight Howard right now would be crazy—and why they shouldn’t even entertain any offers if and when they come in.

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