Given the Dwight Howard-Orlando Magic saga, and, maybe to a lesser extreme, the Andrew Bynum-Los Angeles Lakers saga, it perhaps wouldn't be farfetched that both aforementioned centers swap teams before next season's trading deadline.
ESPN's Stephen A. Smith said on SportsCenter that Howard will request to be traded as soon as the Magic are eliminated from the postseason. And, with the team's virtually best player sidelined because of surgery to his back, that request looks like it may take place sooner than later.
Howard requested a trade before this season had started, his most preferred destination being the New Jersey Nets, and, since that time, had gone back and forth in his demands until he ultimately signed a waiver to void his right to opt out of his contract this offseason. Throughout the year, he either wanted to leave because the team wasn't playing at its highest level and didn't have the right pieces surrounding him or wanted to stay because he was promised more effort on the part of current players and convinced the team would add the necessary complements to eventually win a title.
But for Howard, that latter part seems to have become hopeless at best.
Howard is a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, but in terms of points scored and rebounds statistics, Howard and Bynum are almost identical in their careers. Therefore, some argue that Bynum is better overall. (Reuters/Kevin Kolczynski)
The future Brooklyn Nets could very well be his next destination, a place where he might feel he can win a title in the short-term. He would not only immediately be the face of the franchise, but also probably the city of Brooklyn. Plus, the Nets' desire is there, as they offered two different packages throughout the season revolving around center Brook Lopez.
However, remember too that the Lakers offered Bynum to the Magic for Howard, an offer that the latter team flatly rejected. With that said, there may be less current interest-and even need-on the part of the Lakers than the Nets to acquire Howard because Bynum has been playing so well thus far, but that offer was still nonetheless a signal of interest.
Let's say that Bynum continues to show sporadic signs of immaturity. He has already admitted to loafing around. He took an inopportune three-pointer that only resulted in him getting benched. And, he has been seen pouting and not taking part in team huddles.
That history of character issues might just force the Lakers to revisit that whole Bynum-for-Howard swap, regardless of the former's capability of grabbing 30 rebounds on any given night. Howard has the same capability, some arguing that he has more than Bynum, which means better value. Nevertheless, the only mitigating factor in such a trade is that Howard would come in with fiasco baggage as well.
If Howard gets traded, the Magic need value in return, specifically at center. The Nets would most likely offer a package around Lopez, while the Lakers would offer one around Bynum.
From Orlando's perspective, the team would be getting what they feel may be the second-best center in the league in Bynum if they work with the Lakers. On the other hand, in working with the Nets, the team would receive a skilled center in Lopez but possibly a higher number of valuable parts also.
Ultimately, if the Magic end up seriously considering a Howard trade with the Lakers and Nets in the future, it will have to find some sort of balance between quantity and quality of players.