The Hollywood Four
In all of the buzz surrounding NBA discussions in recent months, from Linsanity to “The Decision,” one issue has been talked longer and in more scenarios than any other.
“The Indecision,” more commonly known as the Dwight Howard saga, has been the defining story of the NBA offseason. It started with the Los Angeles Lakers being potential suitors for the 6’11 Orlando Magic postman. After talks died with the Lakers, the Brooklyn Nets became the team with all of the apparent pieces needed to complete a deal until two weeks ago. In moved the Houston Rockets, a franchise willing to trade its entire future and bank account to acquire what many would consider a one-year Rocket rental.
But the Rockets failed to launch a trade, as they just could not offer the star power that only one team could. Howard’s reputation could have been saved and Orlando could have begun focusing on next season if the Magic would have simply dealt “Superman” to the Lakers months ago.
According to sources late Wednesday night, Howard expressed assurance that he would sign an extension with the Lakers following this next season if he was traded to Los Angeles. After concerns about his role with the Lakers subsided, Howard appears ready to help the Lakers win a championship. The Cleveland Cavaliers will join the discussion as a third team involved in the trade to acquire Andrew Bynum pending a long-term deal of his own. The Magic will receive Cleveland’s Anderson Varajao and a “Lakeboat” load of drift picks as compensation.
Let’s take a closer look at what this trade would mean for LA.
All of the initial Dwight Howard-to-Los Angeles discussions never considered the Lakers with a point guard of Steve Nash’s quality. Add an ample scoring, exceptional passing future Hall of Famer to a team loaded with power forward Pau Gasol, shooting guard Kobe Bryant, and Howard and Los Angeles has a Hollywood-produced, championship-contending starting lineup.
Nash improves the team at the point guard position, where the Lakers struggled to find consistency last season. He can run the floor, is a solid defender, and will have two 20-plus point scorers to dish the ball to in Bryant and Howard. The extra scorer will take the pressure off of role players to help carry the team.
But as we saw in the Miami Heat’s run to the Finals last season, role players can often be the pivotal deciding point in any given night. That’s where the reported signing of forward Antawn Jamison could pay large dividends. Though the veteran is nearing the end of his long and successful career, Jamison can at the very least add depth to the Laker bench. Combining Jamison with players like Ron Artest (I refuse to say Metta World Peace), Josh McRoberts, and perhaps a re-signed Matt Barnes could bring the Lakers one step closer to making Kobe all that much happier with the team’s ability to meet his title goal.
So, after all the trade craze has died down, the Lakers will be on the verge of continuing their storied tradition. And we will see a comparable Big Four to the Celtics of a few years ago – a team that just happened to reach two Finals appearances of their own.