Each year at this time NBA team executives are in team-building mode. Team executives assess their roster, scan the available players, and seek to make moves to put their team in the hunt for the next NBA title. The Los Angeles Lakers are no different, though, one has to question what problem a team could have that features Kobe Bryant (the Black Mamba), Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, and Metta World Peace (formerly Ron Artest). On paper, as we look at the names, we think of a team capable of competing for the NBA title. But recent history has again shown us that names on paper do not win championships. The Lakers are living that revelation daily, and are seeking to add pieces that will translate from paper champions to on court champions once again.
The question remains if the blockbuster trade for Dwight Howard for Andrew Bynum is the move the Lakers need to make. If all things were even, and the move only involved basketball ability, then it would be easy for the Lakers to go after Howard with no reservations. He is a proven game changer on both ends of the court, when he is so inclined to be so. He is arguably the best center in the game right now. No top-tier center gets up and down the court better than the gazelle that is Howard.
However, there is more in question than just basketball ability. There is a lot of if's surrounding the possible addition of Howard to a Lakers team. For starters, Howard will not be ready to play when the season starts because he has recently had back surgery to repair a hurneated disk. When he does return there is no guarantee that he will return to pre-surgery form. Back problems are great hindrances to those in the basketball world. Just ask Tracy McGrady. So, Howard will come back midseason and possibly return to form. But remember that Howard has made the statement that he will only sign a long term deal with the New Jersey Nets. That puts Howard in another uniform for the 2013-2014 season. The Lakers would have had him for half a season. That would be okay if they just needed him for the playoffs. That would be okay if they didn't have to ransom their future to get him.
Bynum would be the cost. Bynum is the stud Lakers center that is not far behind Howard in on court production. If Howard is a n'A', then Bynum is an 'A-'. That's how close they are in terms of present ability. Bynum is still getting better. He has stated that he wants to remain in a Lakers uniform, though he would not complain if traded. But, he comes with his own set of issues. Bynum has also been oft injured in the first years of his career. He is complacent at times. It seems like at the worst of times; like the playoffs when he said he was not prepared to play (game against the Denver Nuggets). Other times he is not engaged with the team as shown by him not joining the team during timeouts when he is not inclined to. It could be just a young mind, as Bynum is only 24.
One thing is for certain. The Lakers executives have a decision to make. How much of a gamble are they willing to take? Is the risk worth the reward? What would you do?723109