Lakers Get Dwight Howard!

The long national Dwightmare is over. According to multiple reports, Dwight Howard will be traded to the Los Angeles Lakers as early as tomorrow.

In the proposed four-team trade the Lakers will send Andrew Bynum to the Philadelphia 76ers and Philly will send Andre Iguodala to the Denver Nuggets. The Orlando Magic will get multiple players and first round draft picks from all three other teams.

Early rumors had Pau Gasol headed to Denver but that does not seem to be happening now. Gasol should be staying with the Lakers.

Being able to acquire Howard and still hang on to Gasol is a coup for the Lakers. This trade certainly makes them a favorite to win a championship this season.

So we are looking at a starting lineup of Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Gasol, Howard and Metta World Peace. That’s a starting five that should be able to beat any team in the league.

As long as David Stern doesn’t veto this trade the Lakers could very well be hanging their 17th Championship banner very soon.

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Dwight Howard IS Coming To The Lakers!

UPDATE (07/08/12, 8:48pm PST): Andrew Bynum has been unwilling to sign a contract extension and has made it known that he is willing to test the free agency market after the 2012-2013 season. This has pretty much killed the deal between Orlando and Los Angeles.

UPDATE (07/06/12, 10:05 am PST): Apparently the Lakers are NOT demanding Dwight Howard sign an extension. They believe they can convince him to stay if they can compete for a championship. Oh, boy.

Rumors of an impending trade between the Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Lakers are burning up the internet this morning.

The prize for the Lakers is, of course, Dwight Howard.

Supposedly, the framework for the blockbuster trade is in place. The Lakers will send Andrew Bynum to Orlando and get Howard in return.

The deal is contingent, however, on Bynum signing an extension with Orlando. No word on weather the Lakers are demanding the same from Howard.

The addition of Howard, along with recently acquired Steve Nash, would make the Lakers favorites to win a championship next season.

Reports are that Howard has already spoken to Kobe Bryant and Nash. The trade is supposed to be finalized over the weekend.

(Will be updating this story throughout the day. Stay tuned)

Lakers Looking to Move Pau and World Peace For Draft Picks

With the NBA Draft only a few days away the Lakers trade rumors are flying fast and furious.

The latest ones involve Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace. It’s no secret that the Lakers are trying to move Gasol. He’s been the fall guy for the Lakers’ post-season woes the last two seasons.

According to reports Los Angeles is trying to trade Gasol to the Washington Wizards for the #3 pick in this year’s draft. That seems a little farfetched since the Wizards have just signed Nene and Emeka Okafor and it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to have three big men with three big contracts. But you never know.

The next rumor involves trading Metta World Peace for a late first-round pick. This one has a slightly better chance of happening than the Pau trade. Teams may look at MWP’s late season play (minus the elbow to James Harden’s head) and think he may be worth it. The only snag may be the fact that MWP is owed nearly $15 million over the next two years.

Apparently the Lakers have their eye on Kentucky point guard Marquis Teague. They definitely need a point guard but I’m not sure they need a rookie point guard. No matter how good he is. (Is it already time to say goodbye to Ramon Sessions?)

Right now the Lakers do not have a first round pick. Kobe Bryant is getting older by the day. Jim Buss has not proven he can run the team as well as his father. To say the Lakers are desperate is an understatement.

The Lakers need to do something big in order to remain relevant in the Western Conference. OKC will only get better. Young teams like Memphis, Denver and Utah are nipping at their heels. Their window for winning another championship with the roster is closing fast, if it isn’t closed already.

Something has to be done.

Expect an avalanche of rumors to be reported over the next couple of days and expect Draft Night to be pretty wild.

The Lakers are on the clock. In more ways than one.

Is Derek Fisher The New Robert Horry?

Derek Fisher is on the verge of winning his sixth NBA championship. For those keeping count, that would be one more than Kobe Bryant.

During last night’s game when the OKC Thunder were about to eliminate the San Antonio Spurs the announcers started referring to Fisher as “the New Robert Horry,” meaning that he makes big shots and collects rings.

To be fair, I think Fisher contributes more during the regular season than Horry did. There were years when I didn’t even realize that Horry was still playing until the playoffs started. But somehow Horry is a seven-time NBA champion with 7,715 career points. I’ll let that sit in for a second.

While Horry may have been the definition of “Role Player,” Fisher certainly is not. He and Kobe were the unquestioned leaders of the Lakers who won back-to-back titles. And he brings that same leadership to the Thunder.

Plenty of people were saying that the Thunder were too young and immature to win a title but Fisher has done a lot to change that. And give credit to the Thunder players. They have been humble enough to listen to Fisher and accept his leadership role.

So, Derek Fisher, will probably get another ring but he certainly deserves it.

Lakers fans will be in a confusing situation. Will the root for a Lakers Legend to win a ring with a rival team? If he wins another ring (and I think he will) I, for one, will be happy for him. And I think Kobe will be, too.

Dwight Howard Is NOT Coming to the Lakers!

Sorry Lakers fans, Superman is not coming to save the day.

No sooner did the Oklahoma City Thunder bounce the Los Angeles Lakers out of the second round of the NBA playoffs for the second year in a row then the trade rumors started.

It seemed that everyone, and I mean everyone, was not pleased with Andrew Bynum’s lackluster performance in Game 5. And if his four rebound effort didn’t make them angry his “I’ll play anywhere,” locker room comment after the game sure did.

Of course, everyone wants to trade Bynum for Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard. I’m here to tell you that is not going to happen. Dwight Howard does not want to play for the Lakers. I spent the better part of last night trying to explain that to all the broken hearted Lakers fans on Twitter, but they just wouldn’t listen.

Howard has made it pretty clear that he does not want to play with Kobe Bryant and the Lakers. In fact, the only reason he signed on for another year with the Magic is because they threatened him with a trade to the Lakers. It was reported after this season’s trade deadline that the trade was agreed to between the two teams.

And why would you want to trade Andrew Bynum anyway? I know he can be a bit immature and stubborn at times but his upside is so great you would be a fool to trade him. The only center who might be better than him is Howard and he’s not coming. So what are your choices? Tyson Chandler? Joakim Noah? Al Jefferson? None of those guys are even close to Bynum’s skill level.

Not only is Bynum going to stay, I think you will see the Lakers build a team around him. Kobe is on his way out. He has maybe two or three seasons left in him. And those aren’t going to be high level seasons.

Whether you like it or not, Andrew Bynum is the future of the Lakers.

What’s Wrong With The Lakers?

I’m not even going to go into detail of last night’s beatdown the Lakers suffered at the hands of the Denver Nuggets. We all saw it. We all were sick about it.

I want to look forward. I want to look towards Game 7 and what the Lakers are going to have to do to win that game.

I think it’s pretty obvious that Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum are going to have to play better. And I believe they will play better because they couldn’t play any worse. Watching two seven-footers take jump shots and continually get beat on the inside is maddening. It’s almost like Pau and Drew forget that they are SEVEN FEET TALL.

Last night Pau played like he did during last season’s playoffs. When he wasn’t getting pushed around by players smaller than him he was moping up and down the court acting like his dog just died. (Either that or his girlfriend left him again.)

Andrew Bynum had one of the most lackluster double-doubles I have ever seen. Anybody who watched that game would have told you there was no way he had 16 rebounds.

Even worse than Pau and Drew was the total lack of effort on the defensive end by the rest of the team. When the Nuggets weren’t driving to the basket with little or no challenge, they were knocking down wide open jumpers.

I’m not asking them to play smothering, shut down defense, I’m just asking them to play SOME defense. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

It was sad to see Kobe’s effort last night go to waste. In a game where he should have inspired the rest of his team, his efforts fell flat. No one on the Lakers seemed to care that he was out there playing even though he was suffering from a stomach flu.

Despite his illness he scored 31 points and had two rebounds. I mention the rebounds because Pau only had one more rebound than Kobe. And Pau is seven feet tall and he wasn’t suffering from the stomach flu.

If the Lakers are to win Game 7 three things have to happen. First, Pau and Drew are going to have to play like the seven-foot All Stars that they are. Second, the rest of the team is going to have to play harder on defense. And third, Kobe Bryant is going to have to be Kobe Bryant.

I can guarantee you that at least one of those things will happen.

Should Kobe Go For The Scoring Title?

Kobe Bryant needs 38 points against the Sacramento Kings tonight to win his third NBA scoring title. There is a very good chance he can get those points but should he even be playing?

The Lakers have locked up the third seed in the Western Conference and conventional wisdom says that Kobe should be rested for the playoffs.  But I get the feeling that Kobe wants this scoring title. And whatever Kobe wants, Kobe usually gets.

And that leaves Coach Mike Brown in a difficult situation. If he keeps Kobe on the bench he runs the risk of upsetting Kobe and if he plays him and Kobe gets hurt he’s going to be vilified by the fans and talking heads alike.

I think this scoring title does mean a lot to Kobe. He’s 33, been in the league for 16 years and it seems like he has a bit of a chip on his shoulder this season. He wants to prove to all the critics and haters out there that he is still The Man. He wants to show that he is just as good, if not better, than the new crop of NBA superstars.

Winning championships is still the most important thing but getting another scoring title at this point in his career would be a nice little extra. Kobe will only play for a few more years (maybe two or three) and there has to be a sense of urgency in Kobe’s mind. He may only have one or two more legitimate shots at winning another championship.

For a game that should mean nothing there is a lot of drama surrounding it. For one more night all eyes are going to be on Kobe Bryant. And I’m sure he wouldn’t want it any other way.