Dwight Howard and the Future

Darius Soriano —  February 19, 2013

“The only thing that matters is the present right now,” Howard said when asked about his free agency. “There’s no need for me to talk about what happens at the end of the season, and there’s no need to go back and forth about it. I just feel like, at the end of the year, that’s when I should have my opportunity to make my own decision. And I shouldn’t be pressured or criticized for waiting until the end of the year. I don’t think it’s fair for my teammates. I don’t think it’s fair for the fans or anybody to be worried about what’s going to happen at the end of the year.”

via Sam Amick: Dwight Howard isn’t having fun with Lakers, free agency

Dwight Howard has become quite deft at answering questions about his future. The statement above is from a scrum at all-star weekend, but just as easily could have been handed out at the Lakers’ media day in October or before the Christmas Day game against the Knicks, or a couple of weeks ago after a win over the Nets. Howard’s response has become a canned statement, and for what it’s worth, I’m perfectly okay with that. Some feel that Howard should give a commitment through the media and let fans know that he’s going to stay, even if that’s really not true. Personally, I see little value in that.

Why lie? Just to get the media and/or fans off your back? What happens if/when you go against your word and leave? Won’t those quotes come back to him and end up making him look even worse? In Oklahoma City, fans and media were quick to cite James Harden’s quotes about not needing the max to remain with the Thunder after declining a max offer directly led to his trad to Houston. These are more than soundbites; they’re the record that will be used for/against you later on.

Which makes statements that Dwight also made a bit more interesting than the boilerplate language he’s been using all year. From the same Amick column:

“There’s no need to talk about (free agency),” he had said during the un-fun scrum. “I want to have fun. I want to enjoy myself and not talk about free agency or what I’m going to do at the end of the season.”

And this: “I’ve got to do what makes me happy. That’s it.”

And what makes you happy?

“Having fun on the court,” Howard said. “That makes me happy.”

Are you having fun now?

“Not at the present time, no,” he said. “Hopefully it gets better.”

In reading the tea leaves, this statement implies doom and gloom. It is, after all, a simple formula: Dwight likes fun; Dwight isn’t having fun; Dwight will leave in free agency.

Of course, if you were to have a brief conversation with some Lakers’ fans, they’d tell you something else that hasn’t been that fun: watching Dwight Howard play basketball this season. Howard, mostly due to health issues, but also due to ability (or lack thereof) to work within the context of a role that he hasn’t seemingly fully embraced, hasn’t been the impactful player he’s been earlier in his career. And while his numbers are still very good — he’s leading the league in rebounds, is 5th in blocks, 4th in FG%, and is averaging 16 points a game — there’s been more than a slight carry over of the bad feelings he’s inspired since the lead up of his departure from the Magic.

These hard feelings are one variable that complicates how people feel about Howard. A lot of people don’t like Howard and that means the benefit of the doubt no longer resides with him. It also means that the things he says get picked apart just as the game he plays on the floor does.

Health is another variable. As Dwight has told us, he’s not yet 100% healthy. In fact, he’s not close. His back is “75%” and when combined with a torn labrum, he’s clearly playing hurt. And while the shoulder — either through rest or surgery — should heal just fine, his bad back (and the resulting nerve issues that he says make his legs “go numb”) are another story. No one knows for sure if his back will be the same again and that uncertainty leads to questions about his athleticism, physical dominance, and ability to play the style that made him Dwight Howard in the first place.

These uncertainties must weigh on the Lakers, even if they publicly say their mindset on Dwight hasn’t changed. In the face of a report that the Lakers engaged in “preliminary” talks with the Celtics about a Dwight for Rajon Rondo swap (a swap that the report itself said wasn’t likely at all), Mitch Kupchak reiterated that Dwight would not be traded (while flatly denying those talks even happened). While I won’t get into the he said-he said, it would not surprise me that some form of a discussion occurred (one as mild as “how about X” with a “no” following). And, I’d add that it would be wise of the Lakers to engage in such discussions moving forward.

Forget, for a moment, the risk that Dwight leaves in free agency and the prospect of losing him for “nothing” in the off-season (we’ll get to that scenario soon) and instead realize one simple thing: Dwight Howard is an asset to the Lakers now, and as long as he’s under contract. And, maximizing their return on that asset should be their number one concern now and moving forward.

For today, that may mean gauging his value on the open market as a trade piece. The reported discussions with the Celtics (irrespective of how preliminary they were) are much more important not because of the names in the deal or because it’s likely to happen, but because there was a discussion at all that started to establish what it might take to get the Lakers to trade Howard. As far as anyone not name Mitch Kupchak or Jim Buss knows, a package may not exist to make that happen this season. But finding out what other teams consider a starting point for those discussions is information all the same. And that information has immense value in how it can inform decision making.

Beyond this season, the Lakers must also think about Howard’s value as an asset. In terms of signing him to a long term contract — which the Lakers still have the inside track to do if only because of the difference in total value — the Lakers would be wise to keep their current mindset intact and try to get a deal done. The Lakers, as a high payroll team, have certain limitations on how they can construct a roster. Because they currently pay the luxury tax, they can’t receive players in a sign an trade, they can’t use a full mid-level exception, and they can’t use a bi-anual exception.

These facts put a greater emphasis on trades (and the draft) when constructing a roster. They also mean that their biggest commodities are the players they have on their roster and their ability to either get them to perform to (or above) their projected ceiling or find a way to flip them for other players who will. Said another way, a player under contract — especially one like Dwight Howard — is more valuable in house than he is walking away for nothing. Even if he’s making max money and not playing at the level he was before he had back surgery. Remember, any contract can be moved later for approximate value. If you don’t believe me, look at the trade the Grizzlies just made when sending Rudy Gay to Toronto.

The Lakers, then, are best served exploring their options with Dwight and understanding that as long as he’s under contract, he can be used to make their team better. Whether that’s through his own play — which, as mentioned earlier is still at a pretty high level — or through the trade market. Ideally, the Lakers keep Howard, he further’s his recovery and he approximates the player he was in Orlando pre-injury. That player was a top 5 talent and a guy who instantly makes the team he’s on a title contender. If he remains the player he is today, he’s an efficient offensive player, high volume rebounder, and a very good defender who will have value on the trade market at whatever his contract pays him. Not to mention, that player is still very useful to the Lakers and helps them win games.

If Dwight were to leave for nothing, the Lakers lose a key asset — one of the few they possess — that can help their roster. No, they wouldn’t be lost without him as the team would still have Gasol, Kobe, and Nash and would be able to use the exceptions available to them to fill out their roster. That trio along with a few quality role players can still be a dangerous team, even though it’s not a top flight contending one. Also, not having to pay Howard’s salary would also help the Lakers in their pursuit to shed payroll and operate closer to the realities they’ll face within an NBA that punitively punishes high spending, luxury tax paying teams. These are variables that can’t be ignored, especially if we’re going to look at the entire picture of operating an NBA franchise and not just the talent that appears on the floor.

Make no mistake, the Lakers have questions to answer when it comes to Dwight Howard and their future.

Regardless of how he’s viewed as a personality or even within the context of his performance this season in comparison to past ones, Dwight is a valuable player. His long term health affects that somewhat, but doesn’t override it to the point that he should suddenly be viewed as an asset that can simply be discarded. That said, we must remember the value of an asset is the product of an equation that comes down to more that just what a player does on the floor. It’s influenced by what can be fetched a trade, the avenues available in how a team can build a roster under the new collective bargaining agreement, and a slew of other factors.

What all this means for Dwight Howard’s future remains to be seen. As he’s said multiple times, he has a decision to make. Just as the Lakers do. The fact that they move on now without Dr. Buss adds another variable to this, but doesn’t change the end game for this team. They want Dwight Howard in house today and for the long term. Whether that’s as an on floor contributor to them or as an asset that’s ultimately traded.

Darius Soriano

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65 responses to Dwight Howard and the Future

  1. An commentary worthy of the team it’s discussing. Well done Darius.

    Looking forward to seeing what happens the rest of this season. Maybe Dwight gets a bit healthier. Maybe the energy around the team improves. Maybe we watch them make another long run with a black band on their shoulders. Maybe it all falls apart. Either way we will be entertained.

    Like you said, Dwight has value and there is not much to lose by signing him to a max. After that, we’ll see how things work out. People should keep in mind that it took LBJ quite a few seasons to get serious. Hopefully Dwight matures soon and his body holds up.

  2. That’s all fine and good but it’s not his play or injury that necessarily bothers me; it’s his effort and constant moping — both on the court and in the media (at times). I get he’s not 100% and that’s where I think he deserves a pass. But he doesn’t set good hard screens, doesn’t move to the ball, and doesn’t give maximum effort. He’s loafing through this season. If it’s the back, then he shouldn’t have come back so soon. I’d be fine with that. I hate his on court demeanor and body language of his ‘going through the motions’ season.

  3. I’ll simply say, “Well written, Darius.”

    My opinion on this player is probably too well known on this forum.

  4. Howard mocking Kobe behind his back and in front of everyone at the All-Star game and Kobe found out ?
    http://www.nypost.com/p/pagesix/lakers_still_in_deep_freeze_NdeeieATpo9PUCtdPsNdEO

    If i’s true, this is huge. It implies that Howard does not expect to come back to the Lakers unless they amnesty Kobe, which is not going to happen.

    Time to cut your losses and trade Howard for something while you can.

    If Kobe stops passing to Howard on Wednesday, you know why!

  5. Good riddance!!! Cant wait for this fool to be out of our team. Trade him for Kwame Brown nobody would tell the difference.same ammount of touches and the same amount of botched passes.

  6. CA Clark at SSR wrote a piece on the same issue today, called “The Dwight Howard Conundrum”, which it certainly is. The only thing that is clear about the Howard situation is that the Lakers have no easy choices.

  7. Trading Howard also depends on what mode the team is going into now. It is clear this set up of Kobe, Nash, Gasol, and Howard is not working. Do they try to retool their way into a contender next year with a new set of players? If so, then they look for a Howard for Love type swap (Minny would be crazy to do that deal).

    Or do they go into rebuilding mode a year early? In that case they try to get as many picks as possible and avoid any long term contracts in a deal for Howard. As a fan, mentally I have already resigned myself to the idea of the Lakers rebuilding. I don’t want to see them mortgage the next five or more years trying to make one last run.

  8. My preference is that Howard stops mopping and complaining about how unhappy he is and play hard, they put together run, and he resigns. Then next season he comes back completely healthy and they become legit contenders. However, I believe that’s wishful thinking. Every single report regarding Howard is about how unhappy he is. He doesn’t like playing with Kobe and for D’antoni. He doesn’t embrace the pressure of being in la. I may be wrong but all signs point to Howard leaving. And if that’s the case what should the lakers do?

    In my opinion, they should trade him. I’m not sure if Darius will let loose a little on the trade moderation so I’ll just say they should explore sending him back home and not for someone with the initials J.S. I only mention this but is been reported that particular team has a lot of interest in Dwight.

    But we all know the lakers will indeed hold on to Howard and this summer is going to be just like last summer.

  9. And Fern wins the award for biggest over-reaction in a comment today (at least so far). Yes, let’s trade Dwight for Kwame because clearly all that matters is how cleanly players catch the ball.

  10. And to confirm what Joel questioned, there will not be any trade speculation allowed in the comments of this post. Sorry, folks.

  11. Lakers chances of resigning Howard are about the same as their playoff chances. Slim. Changing teams for a 3rd straight year does nothing to Dwight’s brand because it’s already in the gutter. He can just chalk this year up as a bad experiment and lessons learned. Cliff Lee turned down more money with the yankees for the phillies. Hopefully the Lakers get aggressive trade Dwight.

  12. This is a very tough time for the Laker organization. Aside from the loss of Dr Buss, now they have to determine if they are ready to part ways with Howard now or take their chances at the end of the season and, with the latter, even if he re-signs with the Lakers, is he really the best choice for this franchise going forward??

    After watching Howard play with zero to no enthusiasm and hearing his non-committal comments, I am of the mindset that he and the Lakers should part ways. To me, he gives the impression like he does not want to be here so I think we are better off getting what we can now.

  13. There have been a lot of screw ups this season, and it seems like a lot of the criticism is unfairly falling on DH. Everyone had high expectations, and it’s been pretty frustrating, but considering how much of his money and reputation is on the line, I would have to believe that DH is doing the best he can on the floor. His injuries have exposed his weaknesses and those will only grow with time unless he corrects them. And who knows if he has that fuel to better every year? Besides Kobe, (and MWP) who else has taken that approach? And MWP is in a contract year, so a cynic would say he’s dropping the weight and playing better because he has to. Winning cures all evils, and considering how tough it will be to get wins, I hope DH is getting some kind of support that would encourage him to take the extra 30 mill and stay with the lakers. I would have to think even a DH at 75 % is more valuable than letting him go, even though we have no idea what kind of coaches or players will be around. There are just too many variables. I have a hard time accepting any trade rurmors (even to gauge DH’s value) because theoretically DH’s play should improve as he heals and if the team improves, it will only help his value. But if his play regresses, it’s going to hurt him and the lakers as well. So these rumors (and I really can’t buy them) are mere snapshots of a particular moment in time and do not reflect any long term value.

  14. I think you have to see what you can get for Dwight, the alternative of him walking and no draft picks looks pretty bleak.

  15. With all the plaudits the Laker front office has gotten over the years, it seems like they didn’t vet Dwight too well. He’s hurt, obviously, but rule #1 is you have to co-exist with Kobe. He can’t. Time to say good bye.

    If the All Star game reports are true, it’s really time to say goodbye. What an insult to Dr. Buss’s memory.

  16. Darius well written post about Dwight’s value. If we re-sign him for next year, he’s a valuable trade asset even if he never plays at DPOTY level again. As you pointed out, we need all the trade assets we can get because we aren’t gonna pick up much in FA and we won’t be in the draft.

    Problem is, there’s little to no chance Dwight re-signs. Making more money over 5 years instead of less over 4 is great, but for a player like D12, it’s important he likes what he’s doing and having fun, especially if he’s not gonna win a championship (and let’s face it, we’re not going to win w/ the current team makeup). It’s not just lack of chemistry with Kobe and DA; he seems to actually dislike them, especially Kobe. At any rate, he’s miserable. He’s not gonna come back, meaning he will forego the extra millions to go elsewhere, especially because per year he won’t be taking much of a paycut. He can have more fun elsewhere, play in a system that emphasizes his offense more, and he’ll have at least as good of a chance of winning a championship w/ most destinations.

    That’s why we trade him now. If we wait, we’re not gonna re-sign him because he’s just gonna walk. Letting him go frees up salary space, but not enough to get someone good to help out our team next year. If we trade him, maybe we get someone useful. Then we’ll have the rest of this year as a pre-training camp period to help prepare for a playoff run next year.

    Future discussions about what to do with Dwight should admit that the odds he stays with the Lakers are very low. And with that consideration, it makes more sense to trade him now. He’s not gonna want to stay. At least try to get someone to replace him

  17. Um Darius i wasnt serious. But still good riddance to Dwight if he gets traded. And he still cost the team around 4 baskets a game because of his butterffinger hands

  18. Fern,
    Based off many of your comments this year — which I just looked at — I can honestly say there’s no way anyone could have known you were joking.

  19. @Mel thats what really really put me on the trade him now camp, i mean we all know he is hurt ( he keeps reminding us) but his lack of proffesionalism and mocking a player that is a proven winner a franchise cornerstone and one of the top 5 or 6 players in the history on the NBA the day the owner of the franchise one of the best owners a pro athlete can ask for passed away, thats beyond disrespectful, he cant hack it in LA period. Instead of learning from players like Nash and Kobe he whines and whines. It would take a monumental change of attitude from this guy to convince a lot of Lakers fans that have soured on him.

  20. Well Darius the level of frustration with this team is profound tue dissapointment is deep, but ok can anyone on Lakerland can honestly think that Dwight Howard is going to turn it around? That he wants to be here? I dont think nobody does, so lets cut our losses and trade him i been a fan for 30 years and like i said in another post we cant win every year im more concerned about the cap room we will have in 2014 and the long term financial health of the team given this new CBA, i rather let the team take its lumps now that its becoming painfully obvious is not going anywhere. And be ready for the next reload if this fool Howard dont want to be here then trade him for pieces that are under contract no longer than next season.

  21. Mocking KB24 behind his back is the last straw IMO. Having some fun when he is in the room, sure, KB24 is good-natured, but clowning him before he arrives? that is BS. if the report is true, Mitch has to determine whether it changes anything regarding trading D12. I sure hope so, but I doubt it.

  22. I say we trade Howard for Brooklyn for some pieces, I don’t see how he can lead the next Laker era post Kobe with his attitude. My goodness, so if he’s not happy he’s going to tank it? Really? Yup, because that’s the tone you want from your leader your star. That’s cheating Laker management, teammates, fans, and himself. He’s gotten to the point of being so disruptive it seems other teams and fans want no part of his act. There are some takers, but what is his value ? Given his health, reputation, and skill level.

  23. I was fully aboard the “trade Bynum for Howard” bandwagon preseason and nothing that has happened since, including this abysmal season, has convinced me that it was the wrong move.

    While Howard has been miles below expectations in all areas, notably health, production, effort and attitude (yes, I know that some of those are redundant), Bynum still hasn’t suited up at all.

    And the Laker focus in the offseason needs to be on keeping Howard NO MATTER WHAT. Why is that? For the same reason that the Lakers chose to keep Kobe over Shaq. Age, building for the future, etc.

    Does this mean that I’m hinting keep Howard even over Kobe? Yes, if that was an option and Kobe didn’t have a trade veto, then it would be the right move to do. As mind-boggling as that last sentence was to write for me, Kobe himself has said he has two years left before he retires. As painful as it is to admit, he’s no longer a franchise caliber player like Lebron, Durant and CP3 are.

    He’s JUST BELOW them, and still an incredible player with an amazing will to win, but age catches up with everyone and the Lakers are moving in different direction right now. A HEALTHY and MOTIVATED Howard represents a franchise level player the likes of which Bynum sometimes masqueraded as being but never really was.

    Of course the key is Howard’s attitude. Most of the media reports, coverage, etc. have all been about how Howard can’t get along with KOBE. What’s interesting is how little is being devoted to talking about how Howard isn’t getting along with ANYONE on the team and that includes the Greatest Teammate of All Time Steve Nash as Kevin Ding noted in his recent reporting on the matter.

    IF Howard can get his head right and IF he can regain his former health, then he represents the best chance the Lakers have in the short term of actually having a franchise cornerstone to build around.

    On a related note, how painful was it to watch Chris Paul chew up the All-Star game a couple of nights ago and think of what might have been?

  24. DH is a mess personality and physically at this time for the Lakers. His attitude is the worst part of the deal even playing hurt or less then 100% you can still be a professional putting forth 100% every game. Watching DH and listening to his comments you can plainly gather this is a short stay for him. Playing the pick and roll his numbers are actually better then playing the 4 out to the 1 in. His percentages on the shots and so forth are better all be it a few less points. But DH still is not being a team guy and putting aside his displeasure of not being the #1 option.

    In watching DH this year and his last couple in Orlando I personally don’t think you can build a Championship winning team around him. He is missing to many of the intangibles that are needed to be a leader in battle. Basically he is a big over grown pussy cat ( or the picture of the big dumb jock) even Lebron has had issues leading a team to a championship in reality it was probably more D-wade then Lebron that did it last year and will continue to do it.

    At this point the experiment is over it has seen the fat lady sing. Ship his butt out of town ASAP so the Lakers actually get something for him with the cap issues they will have a major issue if DH leaves at the end of the season with the Lakers getting nothing. Send him to Brooklyn in a 3 team deal so that the Lakers get some decent players and possibly Love in return.

    Lakers also really need to look at the coaching of this team. Seems there is possibly a better fit for the next several years.

  25. John,

    I’d agree with you except for one thing: Ship Howard out for WHAT?

    That’s the key thing here. In the modern day NBA, the worst place to be is stuck in the middle. Too good to get lottery picks and nice young talent, too bad to actually do anything and contend.

    What could we get back for Howard that wouldn’t leave us in that position?

  26. Jim C..

    DH might be a great physical talent but he is light years from being a mental genius or even the type of player to build a team around. His ego is the biggest issue I thought Kobe was bad but DH makes Kobe look mild in comparison especially when you look at accomplishments. DH should of gone into this with I can play with Kobe for 3 years and learn how to become a champion how to become mentally touch enough to lead a team. Instead he comes in and acts like a baby. I think the only reason you don’t see more of the other players calling DH out is this is the Lakers and until he retires that is Kobe’s job as the team leader and everyone knows it and defaults to him.

  27. At this point take some good role player and a few #1 or #2 picks. See if you cant get Kevin Love and a couple of draft picks. Some of what the Lakers need is to build youth too. Youth is inexpensive and can immediately contribute. Even Brooks Lopez couple be a great pairing with Gasol.

  28. @jim i believe making the trade for Howard was the right move too i mean it has to be done, but sorry even at his age Kobe is an elite player still top 5 in the league, his skill desire to win and leadership cannot be dismissed, comparing this situation with the Kobe- Shaq one i believe is wrong because Kobe was on his way to became the best player on the planet and Shaq was having some attitude problems and he was starting to decline the Lakers did what had to be done, both Kobe and Shaq were at fault and they deprived the Lakers of at least 2 more championships in my opinion had Shaq been willing to do for Kobe what he did for Wade. Howard is right to be non-committal but he dont want to be here, and his babbling to the media everyday its just too much. He needs to keep his head down play at the best of his ability hurt as he is and shut the hell up he havent prove he can be a franchise player, he was the franchise in a second rate franchise like Orl but in a big market? No way, he is having problems here imagine if he goes to the Nets? That NY media is the king of nasty, im sure they will hirt his little feelings.

  29. I think a couple of things need to be said in fairness to Howard:

    1. Although the Lakers were on his “wish list”, the only time he ever went on the record as saying that he wanted to be on a particular team, he said Brooklyn.
    2. No one–fans, media, other players–seems to want to give Howard any credit for coming back and playing with the injuries. One can argue whether he should get that credit, but generally players do.

    I suspect that the back injury sometimes makes it looks as if he is not trying, when in fact he is. That said, some of the issues he is having are his own fault. But this team is 25-29 for many reasons.

    And, there are, as you would expect, plenty of rumors out there, Kupchak’s statement notwithstanding.

  30. IF you can get a Kevin Love and picks, then that’s cool. By all means, make that trade.

    The problem is that I doubt those offers are available. Dwight Howard is a complete free agent at the end of this year. Other teams across the table know this. He holds all the leverage.

    Who would want to give up multiple draft picks and valuable players unless there is some sort of guarantee that Howard will re-sign after this year?

    Keeping Howard unless a great package falls in our laps and trying to convince him to sign a deal in the offseason, and taking the cap space if he doesn’t, is the best of the bad options facing the team.

  31. I would send him to purgatory, like the Kings or eben worse the Bobcats lol, have fun Dwight.

  32. If those teams can pony up the right combination of picks and players then sure.

    But if not, then I care far more about making the Lakers GOOD again then punishing Dwight.

  33. Again, the Lakers will only have Nash and hopefully Clark on the books after next season thats at least 60 mill under the cap, the team is 18 months away from a major reload- overhaul, even if we somehow keep Dwight we still be 40 million under the cap the Lakers will be fine.

  34. Lakers should look at their competition in free agency: Dallas, Houston and Atlanta. Dwight never speaks about the money it’s always about having fun and winning. It’s a very real possibility Lakers miss the playoffs. Meaning Dwight would have missed the last 2 postseasons and since 09 has gone from finals, 2nd round, 1st round to no playoffs 2 straight years. It’s never good to act like you know what a man is thinking because you don’t. But I’m a young guy and looking at the situation I would see a team in Houston with a good young core and not winning it all wouldn’t be a complete failure. Then see a Lakers team full of old guys who I can’t relate too in a city where I’m not highly favored. History aside and looking at the present any realistic person who had a choice between Rockets and Lakers you’d pick the Rockets today.

  35. Assuming we don’t make a shortsighted trade that ships Dwight out but brings back decent players under long term deals that locks us into being a mediocre ballclub for the foreseeable future.

    That’s why even letting Howard WALK is preferable than doing the WRONG trade.

    In today’s NBA you should either be absolutely terrible, or contending, or one piece away from contending with cap maneuverability.

    Anything else and you’re doing it wrong.

  36. @Jim C

    “IF Howard can get his head right and IF he can regain his former health, then he represents the best chance the Lakers have in the short term of actually having a franchise cornerstone to build around.”

    They don’t need to trade Kobe just for DH. Just look at Kobe now, passing and less shooting. He sacrificed his game for the sake of the team. What can we ask for?! Trade him?

    If DH will let go of his ego and give his effort 100%, there is no problem.

  37. If Howard were to go to Houston he wouldn’t be the #1 option, that would be James Harden who is arguably the 2nd best shooting guard in the league. I can’t imagine how many players are going to be able to tolerate Howard’s ‘ I just want to have fun’ persona. I mean he’s almost 28 and has been in the league nearly 10 years, it’s all about winning now the fun is over. Idk I feel we have the pieces to make a push but it hinges on Howard’s mindset to put forth that effort.

  38. Jim C is on point. It is one thing to talk about shipping Howard out. It is another to actually find a deal that makes sense for the Lakers and another team. It is not as simple as putting Howard on a plane and getting back a young, budding All Star in return. Guys like Love and Hortford are not coming back in a trade for Dwight Howard. Its just not happening.

    Add in the fact the Lakers are bound by the deadline and they are really at a disadvantage. Every GM in the league knows that if the Lakers want to trade Howard they have do it before the deadline or not at all. That kills any leverage the Lakers may have had.

  39. It’s unfortunate that Dwight Howard has spit in the face of Dr. Buss and his legacy by saying he is not having any fun. Dwight should just shut up and play. Shame on Dwight.
    http://theklowntimes.net/2013/02/19/jerry-buss-was-the-nbas-best-owner/

  40. Let’s stop kidding ourselves. Dwight is not coming back here! I would go as far as saying he dislikes Kobe and no way wants to play with him. I will go as far as saying that Kobe will make it clear to tell the FO that no way he wants to have Dwight on his team.

    Finally as a 40 year passionate fan I DON’T WANT 3 MORE YEARS of fumbling, bumbling, complaining “all I want to do is have fun” on this team. Dwight Howard has taken all my joy out of watching the Lakers.
    He has ruined my “fun” and the season for me as a fan.

    Give me 4 Earl Clarks and Kobe playing hard as opposed to 14 punks like Baby Dwight!

  41. Honestly, I think some of Kobe’s comments are overblown by the media, which is more interested in sensationalism.
    “We don’t have time for (Howard’s shoulder) to heal”. –
    It is obvious from the Laker’s W-L and expected W for playoffs – the Lakers, as a team could not / can not afford to wait around for Howard’s shoulder to heal, but needed to find a way to win now, with or without Howard, (and his shoulder).
    Whether Kobe meant it that way – only he knows, but clearly the media did not give him the benefit of the doubt.

    Similarly, the use of the word “mocking” for Dwight imitating Kobe is much harsher than “teasing”./”tweaking”

  42. Fwiw, I don’t give that report from the NY Post on Dwight mocking Kobe from the ASG any credence at all.

  43. Boston will be on the second of their back to back again. I hope with all the extra turmoil because of Buss’s death that the Lakers don’t come out flat. Tomorrow should be their Gipper moment.

    Supposedly, Dwight’s a hard worker in his training. His biggest problem is like most people’s: his mouth. I would have attributed his drifting to his injuries versus his attitude had he just shut his trap. No one knows how much more of his athleticism he’ll get back by next year but he’ll be getting max money somewhere. I’m done trying to figure out which way it’s going to go for him. I need this team to get on a good roll while he’s here.

  44. darius: strike while the iron is hot is an expression used whenever the iron is hot. and the opportunity and timing couldn’t be any better for the lakers to acquire a piece or two that will help in the stretch run to the playoffs. just look to the growth of earl clark, priorly buried deep on the bench yet emerged when given the opportunity. oftentimes 1st round draft picks take a little time to develop. 2nd round picks not so much if ever.

    To say that the man with the midas touch is no longer with us is an understatement yet to say that the man with the midas touch had trades in mind and with mitch kupchak at the helm, would use that ace up the sleeve to make that midas trade prior to the deadline. don’t forget the lakers retain an injury exception.

    it could happen. and we could get happy.

    Go Lakers

  45. For me, it’s not a close call. I don’t see a franchise player in Dwight Howard. At his best, he was a great individual player who took his team to only one losing Finals appearance. Today, he is a shell of that player with zero guarantee of returning to full health.

    If Dwight really wanted to be here, it would still be a huge risk to give a max contract to a guy who hasn’t recovered from back surgery. As it is, his interest in being a Laker is lukewarm at best. He doesnt need to sign an extension today, nor does he need to promise to re-sign. He should, however, be willing to say what every other Laker free agent to be in recent memory has said: “I love this organization and I’d love to retire as a Laker.”

    Dwight can’t and won’t say that, and it speaks volumes. I would not hesitate to trade him for expiring deals and picks if that’s all I could get. This is an injured guy whose upside is totally unknown and whose commitment to the team is questionable. Worse, he is known for being a happy go lucky guy who wants to have fun, which doesn’t have to be bad but isn’t a common recipe for a champion. Frankly, between trading him, losing him for nothing, and maxing him out, the latter is the more worrisome outcome to me.

  46. One of the reason why dwight is not happy is because of kobe. forgive me for hating kobe darius. Put it this way, other superstars often go out of their way just to recruit other superstar to join them. Look at the Miami’s big three, many was speculating that they were talking to each other to play together even before the “decision”. Look at them now, they are almost unstoppable after winning a ring. But look at what kobe did upon learning that the Lakers had Howard, he immediately imposed that he is still the no.1 without any challenge coming from DH.Is that a good welcome? No wonder kobe cannot even recruit raja bell. The relationship is flawed from the start.
    I am not happy with the way DH is playing but to say it is entirely his fault is wrong. If we can trade DH for any player that will thrive under MD system, in which the Lakers are stuck anyway, will be better than letting DH go.

  47. I think is unfair to Dwight to be asking him to say all that ” he wants to retire a Laker”, he dont need to commit just yet, if he took the Paul route and keep his mouth shut nobody would be questioning him, but he keep talking and talking and he is digging himself a deeper hole on this new ” Dwightmare” he thought he was going to come to LA and enjoy all the grovelling he had at Orl, i read some columns from the Orl media when that mess was on full swing and man, that was beyond pathetic, puke level grovelling and begging, not here chief, here you have to earn your place here you get measured by championships, i bet he didnt expected how people here are turning on him to the point that a majority of fans and media wants him gone. I know the Lakers troubles are not all his failt bit he is set the tone for the malaise that is eating this team. I doubt he be traded bit i dont expect anything from a player that has proven is a spoiled primadonna it will take something huge from him to recover some of that image that he has destroyed himself, his image as a Laker so far? Whinny loser.

  48. edu this is Kobe’s team until he retires, Nash knew it coming in everybody that plays in the Lakers know that, you fail to mention that Kobe said that he expected Dwight to lead the franchise after he was gone. Dwight can still learn from 2 leaders like Kobe and Nash, he dont want to. He will never be a leader with that attitude and if he wins a championship somewhere it will be because someone carried him not because he carried anyone, on 09′ it was Hedo insane 3 point shooting combined with the Cavs meltdown that took the Magic to the Finals.

  49. Overall Lakers will have the upper hand in there negotiations with Dwight but we may see something that we never expected to happen with a complete walk away from LA

    Dwight can make an extra 30 Million with the Lakers and with an injured back that guaranteed money may be worth it because he might completely lose his athleticism later in his career and be forced to play like Ben Wallace – this of course would be bad for us but it is an income risk for Howard and Howard’s Agent.

    One would think that the Lakers would never let a star leave town but with word coming out that in 2007 Kobe’s request to be traded was actually about to happen with the Lakers actually having a deal in place with Detroit may mean that we lucked out in this situation just not happening to us yet with Dwight being the 1st.

    Overall Jim is gonna have a hard time explaining why he hired Dantoni over Phil when Dwight publicly stated that he wanted Phil as coach, is having a terrible time with Dantoni, qand would have been highlighted in the offense like Shaq was, which is what he wanted compared to the 10-15% of the time the offense actually moves through him in this system .

    Losing Dwight for nothing would be big – my preference would be to move him to Atlanta or Minnesota for what I would consider equal value in star players but we would need to see this happen. I think Atlanta would actually be willing to play as they would need a way to keep their team under the tax.

  50. Thanks Fern your comments perfectly encapsulated how I’m feeling right now. So, Dwight imitates Kobe and makes fun of him in front of other nba all stars. Yup, thats the attitude of a franchise player. One of the nba all time greats is being made fun of by a underachieving center who turns the ball over more than Kwame brown. Furthermore, it appears Dwight can’t even get along with Nash who loves passing the ball and being a great teammate. Hmmmm at this point, even the most stubborn fans must think resigning Dwight to a five year deal might be five years too many.

  51. Darius,

    I contnue to believe that the Lakers made a two year commitment to win a championship, and they are sticking to the plan. That means the Lakers expect to keep Dwight.

    Only Atlanta might be able to get the Lakers to consider a deal in the next few days, but it seems extremely unlikely.

  52. There was an excellent point posed on Max and Marcellus today, the question was whether Dwight Howard was an M&M player (money and memories) or a championship player. It’s quite obvious he doesn’t like playing with Kobe. Kobe is a hard driving player perfectly suited to play for the Lakers whose motto is championship or bust. D12 on the other hand is concerned with having fun and making money. Does he really fit our team? Are we crazy for expecting him to forget about the chips and go for the chip? He is playing hurt. That fact can’t be denied. His back and labrum are killing him but why in the hell is he shooting half court hooks with his right hand.

    He is a big kid just like Shaq was but at least Shaq played with effort and zeal. It’s hard to watch this man loaf around the court. His attempts to be funny are almost as painful to watch (his interview during the all-star game was freaking stupid). Give me a player like Lopez and fillers and make this the most intelligent team in the league next to San Antonio, get rid of D’Antoni and get Phil J and lets see what happens. Imagine two bigs who can post and shoot from the outside with Nash, Kobe and Clark (oh yeah, MWP goes to the bench or…..). That would be a dangerous team with the right coach.

  53. @Funnky Chiken you nailed it. That is all that I am waiting to hear from Dwight. When Kobe asked to be traded in 2007 he always mentioned that he wants to retire as a Laker despite his trade demands.

  54. Dwight is 28 not a juvenile,what is this I wanna have fun crap.He will be declining after next year.I prefer Earl to Dwight in a heart beat.

  55. Think this drama happens with Phil around?

  56. Funky and Fern, thank you for your intelligent comments regarding Dwight. There are some stubborn Laker fans out there that just don’t want to admit, or just see the danger in keeping Dwight. He clearly can’t play through pain very well and who knows if he will even be at 100 % again. And the one thing I can assure you that won’t recover is his attitude and seriousness as a player. I am on board we trade him for some players who would be a better fit for this team.

  57. Be careful what you wish for, you might get it.

    This is exactly what happened to the Lakers’ obsession with Dwight Howard. During the Dwightmare, we knew what we were getting into. We knew what kind of person and personality we were getting. We knew, yet we did so.

    Dwight Howard is what he is. Whether you think he is capable, worthy or serious enough is beside the point. Dwight Howard will be, and he will do Dwight Howard things.

    The decision that weighs in on the Lakers is to fix the team, both long term and to try to squeeze a championship in before the window closes forever. I think thats 2014, unless Kobe decides to play out more. But the Lakers also think about life without Kobe, and thus the Dwight trade happened – its just that it was missing 1 other component: CP3.

    The Odom+Gasol for CP3 deal was perfect. The Lakers acquired someone in Pau’s salary (a PG most of all) to pair with the aging Kobe, while the plan was to use Bynum and picks to get Dwight. It was a perfect volleyball toss for a winning spike until the veto changed all that. In retrospect, I believe the Nash deal is the best deal I’ve seen in many many years. That includes the Gasol trade. The Lakers needed a PG and Dwight and its what we got. We wanted CP3 but oh well.

    At any rate, it will be very interesting to see what happens. I have mixed feelings but all I know is the Lakers need to make a change that will address their transition defense among other things. As currently constructed, with all the heads butting in the locker room and such, be it media spin or simply true, we need to do something.

  58. I wrote an article about the supposed “2014 plan” and why I believe its not a real plan unless Lebron comes over. Thats a 1/1000000000 shot and I even doubt we have that 1.

    http://warrenweelim.wordpress.com/2013/02/05/the-lakers-the-tax-and-the-2014-cap-space-myth/

  59. darius: speaking of dwight, if he is going to be the face of the lakers, remember bozo, chuckle and weary willie. not a good picture and who’d of thought?

    time to get on with it. we need to do some kind of whip ass roll on them celtics tonite regardless they been beaten by rocks yesterday.

    Go Lakers !

  60. Looking for the article which quotes Phil Jackson stating “the Lakers have misused Dwight Howard” as discussed on ESPN’s Ist Take between Steven A. & Skip this morning (2/20). I’m wondering if what the Zen Master says makes a difference to those who want to get rid of D-12?

  61. I agree he is been missused, but Dwight himself is partially to blame, on the start of the 4th on the Miami game he started the quarter and the offense ran thru him on the post, the result? 1-4 with 3 tos, that was basically checkmate right there for the Lakers when you have Steve Nash who have make a career out of making scrubs look like world beaters screaming at you, im sorry your wrong, I dont agree with MDA assertion that post play is inneficient but most of the time Dwight is inneficient at it with his stupid custom of putting the ball down. I always beleieved this team would pick n roll to death, Dwight is not willing to do that, last week i dont remember what game was he executed a beautiful pnr with Nash amd the result was a one handed dunk, i think that is the only time i seen the play executed to perfection in the whoooole season if you work w/o the ball Nash will get you the ball, Dwight just sit down there on the post and expect the ball, its not going to happen that way, his post game is weak he makes Bynum looks like Hakeem on offense.

  62. Every GM in the league knows that if the Lakers want to trade Howard they have do it before the deadline or not at all. That kills any leverage the Lakers may have had.
    ____

    True indeed and if the FO decides not to trade him, for the next 5 months, it gives Dwight power over, arguably, the greatest franchise in all of sports. He’ll have the organization by the testicles.

    Jim C.: I’ve always respected your opinion and it’s good to see you back on board. Literally.

  63. The Lakers will get nothing meaningful for Dwight now. You either let it play out and if he walks he walks, but when its money time he may sign when he sees the difference. If not, someone will ante up for him in a sign and trade and give more then they would now. Let it play out. Orlando handled it badly and we cant do the same.

  64. If Dwight mocked Kobe, that was his “cancun” moment and he is not Laker material.

  65. Tra:

    Don’t know if you’ll see this with the new post up, but I appreciated your shout out there. I’m still reading and following the Lakers very closely, but just have been too busy of late with a new job to comment as much as I used to.

    But thanks for the nice words.