Rumors Become Reality: Dwight Howard To Be A Laker

Darius Soriano —  August 9, 2012

Wow. Wow. WOW. To be honest, even now, I’m still in shock.

Earlier today I wrote that I seriously doubted the rumored 4 team trade that would land Dwight Howard on the Lakers would happen. Well, I was only partially wrong (and couldn’t be happier about it). The rumored deal has been re-worked and the framework for a Howard trade has been agreed upon by all parties. A call with the league is set for tomorrow morning to get final approval. From ESPN’s report:

A four-team trade that would send Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers is complete, multiple sources told ESPN on Thursday night. A source with direct knowledge of the talks told ESPN.com’s Marc Stein the Lakers will receive Howard, the Denver Nuggets will acquire Andre Iguodala, the 76ers will receive Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson, and the Magic will get Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Nikola Vucevic and one protected future first-round pick from each of the three teams. In addition, the Magic will be getting other pieces, including 76ers No. 1 draft pick Moe Harkless, a source told Stein.

One name you don’t see listed there is Pau Gasol’s. In what can only be considered a coup by Mitch Kupchak, the Spaniard is staying in Los Angeles and will team with Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, and Dwight Howard to form a starting lineup for the ages. As if getting Howard wasn’t enough.

But let that reality sink in some more. Dwight Howard will be a Laker.

He is the premier big man in the league. In the season before last, he was the runner up for the MVP award. He’s won 3 defensive player of the year awards. He’s a superstar of the highest order, bringing two way impact that that’s felt on the floor and from a marketing perspective. There was no bigger fish to be had this summer and he’ll be wearing the forum blue and gold next season.

Of course, there are some concerns. First of all, he’s currently not able to play basketball. As of this writing, he’s rehabbing his back after season ending surgery. Second of all, he’s made no commitment to the Lakers beyond next season. One of the reasons he’s even available is the fact that he’s not under contract beyond next year and has expressed the fact that he’ll test the free agent waters once his current deal expires.

However, it’d be silly to think the Lakers haven’t thought those issues over one hundred times over. Howard has been rehabbing his back in Los Angeles and it’s fair to assume they’ve done their due diligence on his progress and are comfortable that he’ll be ready to play at a high level next year. As for keeping him beyond next season, the Lakers will not only have Howard’s Bird Rights but can sell him on the history of the franchise and the team’s status as perennial contender for the championship. There are few, if any franchises, that can give Howard the market, dollars, and chance to win that the Lakers do and you can bet they’ll spend the upcoming campaign convincing him that his future is with this team.

All that said, those are concerns for another day. Today, the Lakers and their fans can celebrate. They’ve nabbed the league’s best big man. Its premier defensive player. Its best pick and roll big finisher and one of the few elite hedge/recover defensive bigs. If there’s a single player that could have taken an already primed team to the next level, it was Howard.

After the Nash acquisition, the signing of Antawn Jamison, and the return of Jordan Hill the Lakers were already on the doorstep of being one of the few teams that could claim challenger status to the Thunder and the Heat. Now, the Lakers have kicked in that door and placed themselves right in the middle of the conversation. They’ve made a fantastic team even better.

Kudos to Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss. The front office that just a season ago was questioned on the trade of Lamar Odom and its ability to make the necessary moves has transformed the team in a single summer. They’ve spent the money, made the prudent trades, and held on to the guys they’ve wanted to.

It’s really unbelievable. Dwight Howard will be a Laker. I still can barely believe it.

Darius Soriano

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85 responses to Rumors Become Reality: Dwight Howard To Be A Laker

  1. It is good to be a Laker fan

  2. I could write pages about life with and without Andrew Bynum, but I guess I’ll just thank him for the memories. And welcome, Dwight.

    A lot of words are going to be typed about the seven footer exchange so I’ll just take a moment for the other guys:

    I’ve heard we’re also getting Chris Duhon and Earl Clark. Clark has yet to turn himself into an NBA player but he is still young and has the physical attributes that made him a first rounder

    Duhon had a solid season shooting the 3 last year and he’s always been able to run PnR sets with competence… as long as the nightlife wasn’t taking too much away from his game. And in L.A. that might be an issue.

    Also hearing that we’ll lose Eyenga. Buddy, you had one heck of a summer league game for us.

  3. Luckily the Lakers didn’t retire Vlade’s jersey :) Welcome D12!

  4. As a fan, you can’t ask for anything more from the Lakers FO. They swing for the fences.

  5. Earl Clark, Chris Duhon, Christian Eyenga and Josh McBob are all names that have been bandied about as part of the trade.

    We still need to get a back-up SG.

  6. Darius,I hope you`re right about Howard`s back,but since he`s a big man who depends on athleticism to be effective, it remains a big ? until he can prove he`s 100% .

  7. Mouse:

    Hollinger has reported that Eyenga was a throw-in in this trade, but not McBob.

    Clark and Duhon are both coming to the Lakers.

    Now, imagine just how attractive the Lakers might be looking to a player like, say, Leandro Barbosa at the moment. Well-defined role backing up Kobe, best possible market, and a completely championship caliber roster.

    And I worry much less about Barbosa’s defensive shortcomings with Howard than I would have with Bynum.

    Backup for Kobe is the final piece that is needed for this offseason and we’re ready to roll.

  8. Can i just say, Orlando just got the poo poo platter of poo poo platters.

    What was Hennigan thinking. He didn’t even get the 2nd best player (Bynum) or the 3rd best player(Iggy) in the trade.

  9. Drew – thanks for the memories and contributions to two rings. Dwight – welcome to the best sports franchise in the U.S.

    The Lakers just told the rest of the association…Game on! Or as Kool Moe Dee said back in the day…How You LIke Me Now.

  10. @JimC.

    Yes, McBob was something that was never confirmed. I guess someone assumed that they needed him to match salaries :)

    Nevertheless, we now have 7 bigs and 2 back-up PGs, and if the Ebanks rumor is to be believed, a full roster (assuming we sign Sacre and DJO).

    Someone has got to go if we are hoping to pick up a backup SG.

  11. So the Lakers got possibly the best PG in his generation AND the best big man in his generation in the same offseason. WOW is right.

    I think every team benefited from this trade. Everyone thought Grizzles were robbed but they played their hand smart and have become a perriniel playoff team. It took both Lakers about 5 years to show how they made out in the Shaq trade. Took Memphis about 3-4. This trade isn’t a quick fix for Orlando this will be a 5 year process. Look at Cle, Tor 2 years after LeBron and Bosh trades. Orlando can come out good in this in the future.

    Chuck Person has to get with Howard quick to work on FT’s. Kareem should give Howard a call see if he wants to work with the best C ever. Throw the big guns at Dwight so he won’t think about leaving.

    This team has a chance to be 04 Pistons 08 Celtics great. So much potential with a squad full of hungry players for a ring.

  12. Howdy folks! All I can say is,

    F YEAH DWIGHT HOWARD

  13. woooohooooooooo!
    Lakers is really special. :-)

  14. Gasol has offensive game. Howard has defensive game. Like mash potatoes and gravy we hope. Nash is nash. I liked him in college and he turned out to be so much better than anyone could have imagined. Nash is ‘thirsty’ for a title. His only good chance was wrongfully taken away when his bench moved 3mm over the line…like the tar bat george brett deal… we waz robed. Kobe is not 22 anymore but he is smart and is thirsty for mo’rings. Worldpeace is not all here yet, but…Roma wasn’t built in a day. I liked Jamison is college and if he’s got anything left..will be sweet. There you have it, Lakers back in the mix. Nice going Mitch and sure glad the lil’ Buss let Bynum go. Bynum is not thirsty and he can’t do what he do anymore(injuries). Another ring in lala land is in full view. Now if we could only get Sacha back to hit those 2 free throws we needed. jk ?

  15. The Mitch prevails.

  16. jim, mouse:

    i was the one who suggested mcbobs. it’s pure speculation, but there aren’t many players on the lakers roster who makes more than 1.62m (the amount we need to send out in addition to eyenga to absorb both clark and duhon). of course we could also send 2 lower salaried players out, but mcbobs seems like the logical choice.

    my guess is we’re not actually getting clark nor duhon. all reports seemed to have stemmed from alex kennedy’s tweet.

  17. Kobe will, for the very first time in his life, play with a REAL PG AND a center that actually plays like a center; defending the paint.

    I can’t hardly wait.

  18. I am punching myself in the head for every time I doubted Jimmy and Mitch.

    I am badly beaten.

    Thank you FO for making my, Lakers fans and Kibe’s life so much better.

  19. gonna go to sleep tonight dreaming of 1-5, 1-2, and 2-5 pick and rolls

  20. What in God’s name is Kobe saying to the OKC 3 and Lebron in London right now?

  21. BOO YEAH!!! Mitch Kupchack for executive of the year even before the season starts! Hope Earl Clark can be the Ariza-type surprise later in the season. Duhon or Blake to back up Nash? Now, just a back up SG for the vets minimum to round out the roster. BIG 4 baby!!!

  22. Yeah, D12 on the Los Angeles Lakers team…

  23. Thank god they didn’t trade Pau Gasol, now I hope Dwight can click perfectly with Pau.

  24. @haushinka:

    I think the draft pick accounts for the rest of the money :)

  25. Lakers fans really have nothing to complain about ever. The Lakers front office are committed to winning championships at whatever the cost. The new CBA added a tougher luxury tax specifically to slow the Lakers down and they completley ignore the penalties in order to snag Dwight Howard and Steve Nash. Add the fact that Mitch is one of the best GMs around and its just not fair. Almost as great as landing Dwight is not having to give up Pau. I will miss Andrew Bynum though he was funny as hell. I have thoughts here for any one interested.
    http://4hoopsheads.com/2012/08/10/lakers-stay-winning/

  26. O Happy Day!

  27. Darius,

    The NBA just got a whole lot more interesting.

    Now I’m ready to see those x’s and o’s: offense and defense.

    Ray

  28. I won’t be happy until we see Dwight being introduced as a Laker in jersey #12. I’m not counting my chickens just yet. Good thing Der Kommissar (Stern) is in London but then again he may still find a way to kill this deal.

  29. Am I the only one who thinks this trade isn’t all it’s made out to be?
    Bynum is MUCH bigger than Howard, and younger too. Also, Howard’s game is more dependant on athleticism than Bynum, so Bynum’s game is less likely to diminish over time… As long as Howard is healthy this is a sliiiiiight upgrade in the short term, but going forward (years 3-5 of their extensions assuming they would sign the max 5 years after this season) Bynum is going to be the better player…

    BTW, Howard is listed at 6’11” but is probably closer to 6’9″…

    Look at this:
    http://img.bleacherreport.net/img/images/photos/001/791/628/hi-res-84590502_crop_exact.jpg?w=650&h=440&q=75

  30. Gotta love this reaction:

    Bill Simmons ?@sportsguy33……………..1h
    This was not the way I wanted to wake up.

  31. @30
    in all honesty, if bill simmons wasnt such a huge boston homer he would probably be my favorite sports writer. but that is my favorite tweet of this whole ordeal, just because its him

  32. Jason,

    That’s a pretty misleading picture. Howard is further from the camera – it’s basically the Lord of the Rings movies effect.

    Bynum is definitely taller than Howard, but he’s not a half-giant in comparison.

  33. Matt,
    If he is further away it isn’t THAT far away… I remember noticing 1-2 seasons ago when talks of Howard to the Lakers were first starting during games that Howard really isnt that tall…
    Anyway, doesn’t matter now because Bynum is gone and we have Dwight. Like I said, I think this improves us in the next 1-2 seasons (which is really all that matters since thats about how many elite-level years Kobe has left) but time will tell about Bynum…
    Interestingly, Bynum’s achilles has been passing out of double-teams and without Kobe and Pau on his team he may actually regress in Philly if he doesn’t figure out how to pass out of double-teams and keep his turnovers down.

  34. yaaaaahoooo…. Lakers all day!!!!

    I read this article about the rumor at 9pm… and viola… the deal is good at 11pm…

    http://www.yourconstantcompanion.com/howard-to-la-bynum-pau-traded-in-4-team-mega-deal-according-to-report/

    I thought this guys was just making things up.. The best thing about this trade though is that we keep PAU…

    Go Lakers!!!

  35. The reason Howard is such an upgrade is because of his fit with Nash, in my eyes. While Bynum has never been paired with an elite PnR PG, Howard’s ability in that setting is a known factor. Acquiring Nash was the first time I swallowed my strong dislike for Howard and starting hoping we’d actually pull it off. Howard scores better off the move than Bynum, which will mesh well with the other starters we have.

  36. You know what’s the best part of d12 trade?

    We will no longer here Aaron saying Bynum is the best Center in the NBA.

  37. Wow Wow Wubbzy!!! It’s finally done.

    I don’t see anything else that backs up Spears and Kennedy about the side players Duhon, Clark, Eyenga and McBob. Although McBob for Clark does make contractual (dollar for dollar) sense.

  38. @#29….Agreed, Bynum is bigger, but he’s a lot slower than Dwight. IMO,Drew has never fully recovered his speed and agility after his myriad surgeries. Bigger didn’t mean much against the Thunder, did it? Howard is just an all around better player.

  39. So Bynum replaces Kwame Brown once again.

  40. Lotta pressure on Mike Brown,huh? He’s been given the keys to a Ferrari…Now, we find out if he really knows how to drive.

  41. @ 29 – Jason.

    Bynum is a good starter in this league. If he was the 4th option on a championship team, he’s golden, because then he does not have to be relied upon. He should have never treated as a 1st or 2nd option on the Lakers.

    Dwight can be the 1st or 2nd option on a championship team. He’s led his team to the finals before and, aside from last season, has been an overlooked MVP candidate for the previous 5 years.

    That’s a major upgrade.

  42. mouse: not sure if you were kidding, but draft picks don’t count as salary for trade purposes. (neither does cash)

  43. not 1, not 2, not 3…

  44. Instead of Duhon and Clark it’s too bad Mitch couldn’t have snagged George Karl, Doug Collins, or Stan Van Gundy in this 4-team deal. Those would be upgrades as well.

  45. 42. Jayelvee,

    For sure. I still think our weakness is the head coach. I don’t care if he works very hard or not. Give me a guy who actually understands the game over a hard worker any day.

    And for people talking about giving the guy a chance, look at his success in Cleveland and last year’s. And he handled Bynum’s situation as poorly as he could.

    Could we get Doug Collins or Rcik Adelman or someone who’s actually good at coaching?

    On the trade, I’m not as high as you are about this trade. DH12 had a back surgery which is about as bad as it gets for a basketball player. IF he returns 100% healthy, then it’s a gamble worth taking. If he’s not healthy, then we screwed up big time…

  46. I can already imagine the pick&roll between Nash & Dwight with a pass to Pau and a lob to Howard or an open three for Kobe. So many offensive weapons pick and roll between 1&2 1&5 2&5 1&4 2&4 and even 4&5! That Mitch guy is one hell of a genius!

  47. We’ve taken our turns taking shots at Aaron, but all jokes aside–he has a point–a back injury isn’t anything to push aside. If Howard looks to miss any significant portion of the start of the season, that’s clearly a problem. I hope the FO has done its homework on this one….

  48. #36
    Howard is a better pick and roll defender, but there is a link somewhere on ESPN.com (truehoop if I remember correctly) that lists stats re:Bynum actually being a better post defender than Howard (post defense FG% etc)… And

    #39
    Howard’s offensive numbers are going to be higher, he was the #1 (and 2 and 3) on the Magic out of necessity whereas in Bynum’s case Kobe has made himself options 1 and 2 (and some nights 3)… Look at Bynum and Howard’s usage rate and percentage of their respective teams’ shots… I believe that on a team where Bynum gets CONSISTENT touches he is better offensively than Howard (and you can’t argue that he plays harder, both offensively and DEFENSIVELY, when he is getting touches and engaged in the game).

    Again, I don’t deny he’s a marginal upgrade over this season or maybe next, but I don’t buy that Howard is a VAST improvement… Especially over the course of their expected new contracts.

  49. mindcrime,
    I think it is about time to accept that the FO does actually know what they are doing. It is a risk, but they felt one well worth taking. Perhaps that is why we were so tough about not trading Gasol.

  50. It’s a risk, but there’s no way Kupchak and the Laker braintrust didn’t do their homework on this one. They’ve earned the right to have me trust their judgement.

  51. I can’t believe there are still people on this board claiming that a three time defensive player of the year is only a “marginal” improvement over a totally inconsistent and always slow center whose latest season was his only healthy year and during which he routinely showed a terrible attitude. I think it is highly unlikely that Howard will ever be outplayed by Javale McGee in a playoff game….

  52. This is an amazing trade. The Lakers traded potential (and childlike petulance) in Andrew Bynum for actual effort, hustle and defensive presence in Dwight Howard.
    As others have said, the Lakers FO deserves the benefit of the doubt in regards to doing their homework about D12′s back.
    So excited for this season to start!!

  53. Howard’s ego and childishness is landing in LA with Kobe Bryant. This will be interesting.

  54. What do you think Kobe is telling his Olympic teammates right about now?

  55. This has almost a zero percent chance of happening. But Mike D’Antoni would be perfect to coordinate this offense.

    Brown should hire D’Anotni to do the job Eddie Jordan (who isn’t offically signed yet) would do.

    Matter of fact Mike Brown SHOULD hire D’Antoni. That’ll be his best decision he’s made in a year.

  56. I measure a player by what they do on the court. I really like Bynum and wouldn’t have been unhappy if we went into next year with him as our center. With that said, I really like this trade for what it brings over the next two years. On-the-court Dwight Howard is more consistent and fits our needs better.

    Andrew may have more upside than Dwight, but we only have a two year window – after that it is rebuild mode. We will need two years under the luxury cap to avoid the ‘death penalty’.

  57. Would Pau Gasol ever have reached the peak he reached without Kobe pushing him?!? No!!! I think that Howard will learn a lot from both Kobe and Steve. These guys are win first, last and by any means necessary guys who leave it all on the court. Howard plays that way but all he needs to learn is how to be a killer instead of a highlight. D12 needs a ring the same way Shaq did.

    Drew wanted to spread his wings. He wants to show the world how good he can be if featured (how did that work for Trevor?) He has already won championships therefore he does not realize that he may never reach the moutain top again. He took for granted that being a champion is a given. He will soon find out that it’s a privilage and an honor and it’s based upon hard work.

  58. I’m just as excited as the next person; Howard is definitley more than a marginal upgrade. With that being said, it all hinges on Kobe. He has to pull the reigns back to make this work. And even then, our back court is OLD. Everybody talks about all these players playing with Nash, but Nash can only play so many minutes. Kobe will have to prove that he can be much more efficient than he was last year and allow other players to help him carry the team. I love Kobe, and I am always defending him. But with this team, he has no excuses at all agains the Durants and the Lebrons of the world.

    Go Lakers!!!

  59. I think that Howard’s back is a better long-term risk than Bynum’s knees.

  60. Though Steven A. let slip that Howard felt that he may not be ready until late January maybe early February. Back injuries scare me, but if he can heal successfully, he complements Kobe’s last years better than Bynum just because of his motor and willingness to play defense.

  61. One area that I think is going under-examined by people wondering about just how big of an upgrade this will be is the pick-and-roll defense.

    Bynum, for all his defensive gifts in the post (when actually giving a ****), was and is a subpar pick-and-roll defender because of his lack of foot speed. He just didn’t have the quickness and lateral movement to aggressively show on the pick-and-roll and then rotate back into position.

    Instead, he’d sit about five feet back and concede the wide-open mid-range jumper. This was a death sentence for us against point guards like, say, Tony Parker and Westbrook who LOVE that shot.

    Coincidentally, who were our two biggest threats going into next year? Oh yeah, the Spurs and the Thunder.

    A legitimate argument could be made that Howard is not THAT much better than Bynum, but his skill set is definitely more complimentary to the rest of the team than Bynum’s was.

    He’s more athletic, runs the floor better, has more explosion, and is faster in defending the play that has been our Achilles Heel for the better part of two decades.

    On offense, Bynum needs to operate on the low post and is not as good at alley-oops as Howard because he doesn’t have the same vertical. (Likely as a result of the knee issues.)

    Lastly, Howard is way better at passing out of double-teams than Bynum is.

    In every possible way, Howard is a better FIT to play with Nash, Pau and Kobe than Bynum would have been.

  62. @ Craig W–Actually, I’ve been a pretty staunch supporter of the front office. I thought last year’s attempt to get Paul was pure genius, and I thought the FO-bashing that was going on after that for not doing “something else” was unwarranted. The Nash trade was great and, in the abstract this trade is a monster–especially because Pau remains in FB&G. But–I just hope Howard is ready to go come training camp.

    By the way–count me among those who find it difficult to believe there are so many that don’t see this as an upgrade–especially in light of the other “component parts” and philosophy of this team. LA isn’t going to be OKC or DEN–LA will remain a half-court team that needs to play at least excellent, if not league-leading, defense to win a championship. Drew’s advantage’s on offense in that calculation are more than outweighed by the upgrade on D with howard.

  63. http://espn.go.com/losangeles/video/clip?id=8254399

    Should be music to fans ears that think Dwight might bail at the end of the year.

    “Howard is a better pick and roll defender, but there is a link somewhere on ESPN.com (truehoop if I remember correctly) that lists stats re:Bynum actually being a better post defender than Howard (post defense FG% etc)… ”

    The NBA is one big pick and roll, thats the play of choice considering the rules against hand checking, and the amount of quality athletic guards in the league who can get to the rim in a hurry. If this was the 90′s then Bynum would be the golden ticket, but slow footed big men who cant hedge and recover get chewed up and spit out. There isnt one team that has a legit chance of winning it all that has a back to the basket type prescence that would validate such an arguement.

  64. On the paper it’s a good move, but it doesn’t guaranty anything yet. Will Howard still be a good player ? will he be happy in the new offense ? will Gasol play better or will be unhappy ?
    I am happy for Bynum, he has a chance to show more his skills, if things won’t work out in LA, don’t be surprised that Bynum will go back to LA next year with Lakers having more money available. The looser is Orlando Magic, they should think of how making their team better in the future,instead of trying to give Howard hard times.

  65. When it comes to offensive post-play, less will be more for the Lakers. Kobe and Pau are better post players than drew. Having Howard and Nash running high pick and roll will space the heck out of the floor and make more 1:1 post opportunities for Pau and kobe. Watch Pau’s numbers go way up this year. Also, with Pau of the floor we can do way worse than going to Howard in the post, as he passes out of the double better than drew currently does.

  66. Hillary Ocholla August 10, 2012 at 9:14 am

    Kobe’s facebook update: http://www.facebook.com/Kobe?ref=stream

    Well, it looks like Superman has found a home. I wish nothing but the best for Big Bynum. I hope he follows what was a great season last year with an even better one next year. I know LA is excited about the deal and rightfully so. The Lakers landed a piece that will hopefully carry the franchise long after I’m gone. I have spoken to Dwight Howard already and we are locked and loaded to bring back the title. Wow, what a summer Jimmy and Mitch have had so far. Unreal! I’m focused on our semifinal game vs Argentina but I had to pause for a few to send you my thoughts, in case you were curious..

  67. DJ,
    The Lakers would not be able to sign Bynum next year – they will be over the cap even if Howard doesn’t re-sign with them.

  68. I too am happy for Bynum going to a team that is young and has a good hard nose coach(Collins) to guide them in the right direction. Philly will definitely be second on the games to watch list this year so I check up on ol Drew. Never thought his attitude was that big of a problem,people make mistakes in all walks of life, the pressure of trying to take the reins from the Mamba was too large a task for him to handle at such an early age. It frustrated him to the point where he didint seem to have a love for the game anymore. A fresh start and new enviroment should be the awakening he needs to further grow as a man and as basketball player.

  69. Personally, I feel sad to see Bynum go. We have gone through so much with the guy, the move on Shaq, the agony of his two injuries when he was just reaching greatness, playing hurt through two titles, the immature comments and actions.

    I remember the night of his second knee injury, feeling utterly terrible, loging on to FB & G to get some company in my misery.

    Well, it is what it is, and I hope Andrew lives up to his potential.

  70. I despise, loathe, hate, abhor and detest Mr. Bill Simmons, but this is a hilarious read:

    http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/8254854/mailbag

  71. Mitch K and Jimmy Buss were able to trade a veteran forward with a bad back (Walton) an over the hill sharp shooter who was virtually useless (Kapono) an old, really old veteran triangle point guard (Fish) an emotional, moody reality tv star (Lamar) and a good but increasingly slow moving young center with attitude problems for… Steve Nash and Dwight Howard. No other management team could have done this because no one in their right mind would have even tried.

    Congratulations Mitch and Jimmy executive team of the decade!

  72. RE: No one survives herniated disc surgery:

    It seems like aaron’s “statistic” about Pippen being alone in recovery is a little off. I scrounged up a study or two from some orthopedics journals, and found some goodies:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20195192

    From 1991-2007, there were twenty-four players who underwent LD (lumbar discectomy, where they remove the problematic parts of the intervertebral disc that is pressing up against a nerve root). As far as I can tell, this is exactly what DH had done.

    The conclusion speaks for itself: “Compared with a closely matched control cohort, we found that 75% of surgical patients returned to play again in the NBA, compared with 88% in control subjects who did not undergo surgery. For those players who returned, overall athletic performance was slightly improved or no worse than control subjects.”

    This isn’t just saying that the vast majority of players who undergo the surgery return to play in the NBA. There is a statistically significant INCREASE in blocked shots/40 min by the surgery group, one year after their operations, both absolutely and compared to the control group. Rebounds/40 min declined slightly a year after surgery, but at a rate SIX times more slowly than the healthy control groups. All other measured indicators had statistically insignificant differences between the groups.

    Furthermore, the nature of the surgery decreases the risk for re-herniation – the removal of excess disc material around the nerve root means that after recovery, when disc compression does happen (like from jumping around a lot) it has more space to expand into.

    With this in mind, I’m not overly concerned about Dwight’s long-term health. The lack of constant pain every time he runs or jumps will probably be a plus, and by next April (a year after surgery) he should be good to go. Apparently he was supposed to be able to do full contact drills about four months after his surgery, since he only required a small incision with limited incidental damage to surrounding tissues (micro-discectomy). It would be annoying if he isn’t on the court until January or February, like Steven A Smith suggested, but it’s worth ensuring he isn’t in danger of re-injuring himself. He’s 26 guys, he still should have at least three or four more years of elite athleticism in him. Obviously, we’ll have to see how he looks to know for sure, but this is quite encouraging.

    Also, If Gasol was able to come in at the trade deadline in 2008, it should be ok if the team has to wait until January to showcase Howard. He’ll still be with the team, participating in (limited) practices, and learning schemes. Now, it would be rough for the Lakers’ record if we were without a center for the first few months of the season, but luckily we have TWO of the top four centers in the league on our squad.

    The Heat and OKC are probably in a panic right now, and are trying to pick up Bugs Bunny (or even Bill Murray) to try to counter LA’s offseason.

  73. has the trade been made official by the league? Just making sure…

    everybody has been calling Orlando ‘dumb’ for doing this trade and getting what they got in return, when the Nets were offering Brook Lopez, Humphries and Brooks plus first round picks compared to Afflalo, Harrington, and Harkless plus three 1st rounders and 2 2nd rounders. True, they got less talent, but let’s remember, they didn’t want that much talent, because they are in a full re-building mode. meaning, they want to ‘suck’ next year to make sure they get one of the top 3 picks. Having the Nets players would make them more ‘competitive’. Plus, they didn’t want to get stuck with the 5-yr near max deal for Lopez. They have a plan and for them, it was the best deal possible.

    Lakers get Howard, back-up PG Duhon and wildcard Earl Clark. Nuggets get Iggy, Sixers get Bynum and J-Rich. Everybody happy…

  74. Again… We have to pray that Dwight joins Scottie Pippen as the only NBA players to recover fully from back surgery… If that happens this trade makes the Lakers slightly better as long as Bynum doesn’t again get better next season. it will be interesting if the smart people in Vegas barley change the odds like I predict.

  75. No praying needed. Obviously the Laker organization is confident that Howard will make a full recovery. There is no way they didn’t do their homework on this. The surgery was performed in LA with a doctor with Laker affiliations. The FO knows his situation better than any of us here do, everything else is just speculation.

    Let’s not forget that Drew just went through his first healthy season in 5 years. Howard’s back is no more of a liability than Drew’s knees.

  76. #74. If Vegas odd will be your scripture, know that they just made the Lakers the 2nd most likely team to win the title with 3 to 1 odds. The Heat outpace them, but the Lakers have passed the Thunder (11 to 2).

  77. i would like to point out that this proves that Woj is the only guy to pay attention to when it comes to trade rumours

  78. Y’know, I seem to recall that Steve Nash dude having some back issues over the course of his career.

  79. From LA TImes:
    Despite Dwight Howard joining the Lakers., Vegas odds-makers believe there’s a Kryptonite that Superman can’t stop.

    The Miami Heat.

    The Lakers’ odds have increased substantially from 7-1 to 3-1 to win the NBA championships, according to RJ Bell of Pregame.com. But that’s enough in the eyes of sports bookies for the Lakers to take their talents to South Beach and leave with the Larry O’Brien trophy. Miami still remains the favorite with 2-1 odds.

    “You have the defending champion that is expected to be better with Ray Allen,” Bell told The Times in a phone interview. “These two teams play in the Finals, LeBron James is still the best player on the court.”

    Before Laker fans cry foul for Vegas odds-makers roiled L.A.’s perfectly sunny skies with a thunderstorm, consider what the odds actually mean. A bookmaker’s role entails predicting how the public will bet their money, rather than actually assessing whether that prediction will pan out. In fairness, Bell believed the discrepancy between Miami and the Lakers winning the title amounted nothing more than a “modest difference.”

    At least compared to what the they encountered before, the Lakers still made a huge jump in Vegas. The Lakers’ 3-1 odds pit them as the favorite to win the Western Conference over the Oklahoma City Thunder (4-1) and San Antonio Spurs (12-1). Even when the Lakers acquired Steve Nash, several odds-makers still considered the Thunder the favorite to win the Western Conference.

    Bell said the difference can be traced back to the public perceiving a fundamental difference between Andrew Bynum and Howard.

    “I was told by numerous sportsbook managers that if it was just about talent, that Howard would only be a modest improvement over Bynum,” Bell said. “When you add in Bynum’s injuries, his motivation, how the Lakers are expecting Howard to integrate in the offense and Pau Gasol is back in the post, it’s a drastic change.”

    It may not be enough to unseat the defending champions. But that’s unlikely to prevent Lakers fans from freeing up their work schedule so they can attend the championship parade in June. They can only hope it’s on Figueroa Street and not in South Beach.

  80. Gasol and Bynum clogging the paint vs. Gasol and Howard clogging the paint? I do think Howard will get back on D better then Bynum. But offensively this is still a mess.

  81. 73 Kswagger 8

    That’s a good point. Plus, the young guns Moe Harkless and Nik Vucevic were 15th and 16th picks, respectively. So if you look at it that way, they got more value out of Vucevic/Harkless/3 protected 1sts than they would have four Nets 1sts; the Nets with D-Will and Howard would have been competitive for many years, especially in the East. Plus plus, like you mention, Humphries and Lopez are not players the Magic want, nor should want (mostly because of their contracts).

  82. To the stat geeks saying Bynum is on par with Dwight defensively… check yo self. Bynum does not make the type of impact on defense that Dwight does. Man-to-man he’s just a big body who is no better than Kendrick Perkins defensively, and he’s too slow-footed and lazy to be the game-changing presence on the defensive end that Howard is.

    Honestly, Bynum is not even par with Tyson Chandler defensively. Whether that’s because of lack of effort is beyond me. Dwight is a beast on D that Bynum will probably never be. If Bynum were in that league of players, he’d be in discussion for DPOY more often than never.

  83. and jodie meeks just signed!! will obviously get lost w/ the latest news, but that helps round our bench CONSIDERABLY.

  84. The official statement/quote that Kobe submitted umprompted said that he will play for 2-3 more years and then the team is Howard’s.

    Kobe is immediately letting the world and Howard know that it is still his team til he retires.