Friday Forum

Dave Murphy —  May 24, 2013

The web’s been blowing up with Dwight Howard rumors and reveals. Veracity notwithstanding, this is crucial stuff that can no longer be sugarcoated. Here’s what we know (situation fluid). Speaking off the record, a mid-level member of Howard’s support team who’s reportedly on the verge of a low-to-mid level inner sanctum promotion, confessed that the Superstar is approaching free agency with all due diligence and in fact, will thoroughly investigate his options. Slow your scroll if you find this to be insignificant. In fact, the wording is considerably different from what unnamed sources at team headquarters have characterized as an assumption that Howard will carefully evaluate his options. Carefully versus thoroughly. Investigate versus evaluate. Complicating matters are rumors that another Texas team, wholly separate from the two Texas teams previously mentioned, might theoretically be interested once future options can be organically contemplated. We care because you care. We are all in this thing together. Like a Team.

Ben Gollivar for Sports Illustrated Point Forward examines the difference between Dwight Howard rumors and Chris Paul rumors.

Joan Niesen for Fox Sports West examines a potentially complicated Golden State Warrior’s scenario.

Drew Garrison for Silver Screen and Roll ponders how a number 13 draft pick could pave the path for a Howard-centric panoply.

The Kamenetzky Brothers discuss what’s best for Dwight in a Land O’Lakers podcast (also some stuff about Phil Jackson).

Eric Pincus for the L.A. Times writes about Phil Jackson’s skepticism that Dwight will return to the Lakers.

Finally, insider information from America’s Finest News Source about Dwight’s true intentions with Houston.

***

Where does all of this leave us? First, it’s important to remember that the playoffs are still ongoing and that Summer is about a month away. We’re still in Spring, a season of renewal. Summer of course is a time of growing and extremely warm temperatures while the Fall is known for Harvest. And then of course there’s Winter which is barren and cold and miserable. As Phil would say, ‘unceasing change turns the wheel of life’. See what I’m getting at here?

None of us can possibly know what is in Dwight Howard’s heart and mind and soul. Luckily, there is an army of confidantes for every NBA player and every team executive and every high-powered writer as well as their researchers and their researchers’ significant others. Plus additional source levels including SL1, SL2 and SL-Vector 1A and 1B. And personal real estate agents, waiters and bartenders. We’re gonna get to the bottom of this, all of us together, working in perfect unison and harmony. It’s how we roll.

Dave Murphy

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60 responses to Friday Forum

  1. dave m: by now we all got DH coming out of our you know whats…

    like the rest of the free (from dh rumors) world, let’s all party like it’s 1999..

    enjoy the holiday weekend all.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6IZecaMttM

    Go Lakers

  2. Now we really know what the Orlando fans felt like. The only good thing I can say is…

    I would rather be dealing with the Dwight Howard situation than trying to determine whether or not we should be offering Andrew Bynum a max contract. Maybe we should be thankful for this small favor our front office presented us with.

  3. I don’t believe Dwight can be the guy he was in Orlando. I think he’s on the decline and his body may be breaking down. I think the Lakers should think long and hard before giving this guy a max deal. http://www.wetheopinionated.com/editorial-the-trouble-with-d12.html
    Have a great weekend.

  4. Craig – much agreed on Andrew. I don’t even have words.

  5. Dave M.,
    hilarious man, lol
    Re: the KBros podcast,
    the chat they had about KB´s presumed take on comparisons between MJ & himself was quite interesting; more so than the speculation about DH´s mindset –
    & as for DH:
    the KBros mentioned their points of view on Houston´s being a real pull for DH & they do seem relevant & worth keeping an eye on..
    his being on the fence about his future here [`so what´s new?´ they mused] reminded me of that old Stones tune: `Sitting on a Fence´
    (from the Aftermath LP) ((Brian on harpsichord))

    I´ve been wondering whom our posters (& of course, contributors) are rooting for at this stage of the playoffs – (if this has already been discussed, forgive me as i´ve missed a few threads)
    I´ve gotta admit it´s the Heat for me, for a few reasons:
    LeBron is simply nasty, Riles, and, selfishly, I´d prefer the trophy not be back in the West till WE bring it home!
    take it easy y´all

  6. Purple: I am with you on the Heat. I do want the Spurs to get #5. This will keep the Lakers and Kobe on top of this generation. Like you I also like Riley. He just looked so cool on the sidelines.
    Craig: Yes thankfully Andrew Bynum is no longer our concern. Hopefully we are not snakebit. Make a great deal – it gets the veto. Make another great deal…….. (what will the finish of the story be).
    DH: He is the priority over everything except Kobe’s health. To be clear – if you give me a crystal ball to see the Laker team photo next year. At this point I will be happy if MD and DH are both in the picture. It is the second best result amongst the 4 possibilities, so I will take it hands down. See – I can compromise.
    Phil: The Charlie Rose interview was just incredible. I am not sure there is anyone on the planet more comfortable than Phil is with his own existence.

  7. FYI, Bill Simmons did a pretty decent write up on the topic today at Grantland:

    Searching for Dwight Howard
    http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/9308573/searching-dwight-howard

  8. If you haven’t seen the Charlie Rose interview it is at: http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/12940

    Pro Basketball also had a very different Phil Jackson interview by a non-sports person at: http://probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/05/23/if-phil-jackson-could-have-any-player-to-start-a-team-it-would-be-bill-russell/

    The last interview had a comment that Phil was in Vail on the evening Kobe had problems and he felt guilty he didn’t check in with him, as he knew he needed some company – given his state of mind regarding an injury.

  9. Mark Sigal,
    That was a very interesting article about Dwight. I have always had a hard time reading Simmons, because I could never get any objective information concerning the Lakers from him, but this article is really worth reading.

    I really can’t say I disagree with his conclusions. The data comparisons with the careers of other big men really makes me stop and think – do we really want to put Dwight in our franchise for the next 5 years? Of course we can say other big men started later, but they were all better students of the game.

    Dwight is a really hard worker on the court – regardless what some say about his game – but he is not the smartest basketball player I have ever run across and he doesn’t seem to possess a killer mentality.

    I guess what the article does for me is illuminate why I may not feel we are at the end of the world if we have to sign Dwight and trade him for equivalent pieces, cutting into our 2014/15 cap space.

  10. Mark – thanks for the link, I missed that one earlier. Searching for…. Dwight.

    Purple – Afternath’s a great, great LP.

  11. Boy Indiana can’t seem to close out a game. Once again Miami is going to escape.

    Watch Lebron go to the line on a phantom call.

  12. Warren Wee Lim May 24, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    I would just trade for Roy Hibbert right now. Bynum-esque skills less the ‘tude and the bowling.

  13. Lebron turned the ball over in the waning minutes of game 1, but Indiana folded under the stress of trying to win game 1 in the ECF. He did the same thing tonight. Two turnovers while looking for someone else to take the shot.

    Now you know why Kobe is a bad man. When the game is on the line he is WILLING to be the goat or the hero.

    Commentators: Lebron is tired of carrying 4 players up and down the court.
    Really?!!! When Kobe plays the same type of game he’s freezing out the players on his team and being selfish. Can you say double-double standards?

    Deep down inside Batman (Lebron) can’t do it without Robin (Wade).

    #Kobe

  14. LeBron is a great player, and even he can’t get it done all the time. It does annoy me that there is obviously a double standard, but I think there is one only because Kobe can take it.

    The narrative will hopefully change if and when Kobe makes a successful comeback from “The Injury.”

  15. Simmons’ article on Howard was dead-on, and the point he nailed that I believe so many fans overlook was does anyone really enjoy watching the guy play?

    Set aside the off-court drama (if you can), and honestly ask yourself, “Is Dwight a guy I want to watch? Or pay to watch?” For me, it’s a resounding “No” answer.

    Between the lack of a refined post game after nearly 10 years as a pro, the atrocious free throw shooting, poor passing, and seeming lack of competitive fire — I’ve only seen one prior Lakers’ season (in 2004-05) that was less interesting to follow than this past one, and that was largely due to Dwight.

    And next year will be worse, with no Kobe.

  16. Craig W- I totally agree about the Simmons piece and his conclusions. If we move Howard for a couple pieces and a pick, then I’ll be okay about it. The only thing I disagree with Simmons about is his sly comment about Tim Duncan being “officially” recognized as the greatest player in his generation if he wins his 5th title. Seriously? The double standards when it comes to Kobe are ridiculous. How many pundits would “officially” rank Kobe ahead of Jordan if he got 7 rings- much less tied him at 6…

    Chearn- Great comment! You won’t hear anyone saying ‘live by the ‘Bron, die by the ‘Bron’ after his 2 turnovers passing for the big shot.

    About Lebron. Dude is amazing. He is absolutely the best player in the world right now, but I claim he needs Wade to step up and take more of the load.

  17. All the articles are great linked here the one comparing Paul and Howard’s free agency caught my eye. Very good and informative with a double standard on full display. Both the best guys to come out their drafts both underacheiving so far and only one catches heat.

    Dwight’s finals appearance trumps anything Paul has done in his career. Rondo and Westbrook do from a career standpoint too but all those guys get far more criticism than Paul. Seems a bit shaky.

  18. Simmons’ work has slowly improved since he began working with Zach Lowe. There’s been a noticeable difference in using more advanced stats and seeing the game beyond the talking heads viewpoint. The Simmons of 6 years ago would be convinced that Ibaka should have won the DPOY or that trading Rudy Gay would hurt Memphis in crunch time. Lowe’s rubbed off on him, and that’s a good thing. (Although I disagree with him about Dwight’s passing; the low assist #s belie the fact that Dwight was fairly good at making the hockey assist pass out of the double in Orlando).

    The piece above has some good food for thought. Watching the trajectory of other big men – most of whom weren’t as dependent on athleticism as Dwight – has some relevance. Rehashing the Olympics tales also reminded me why I hated Dwight so much before we traded for him.

    Perhaps the best line that sums up Dwight: “When your best player isn’t a leader, but he isn’t a follower, either … where are you really going?” Best description I’ve heard of Dwight. Few leadership qualities with a leader’s ego.

    All that said, it makes perfect basketball sense to re-sign Dwight. He’s still a top 4 player at his position, while some on here would argue higher. And I do think his health will improve dramatically next year, although he’ll likely never reach his peak again. Not signing him doesn’t open up cap space and doesn’t really serve any purpose; it would mean the end of a championship quest for Kobe (and possibly push Kobe into retirement soon). I won’t be sweating bullets at all this summer, either way. If he goes, that’s less of his childish antics I have to tolerate in the future.

  19. Signing Howard remains the Lakers’ best bet. Simmons has many plusses–his love of the game, his knowledge of NBA history–but he is not an analyst.

  20. Actually if you think about it, Duncan IS likely the best player of the 2000s. Surely Tony and Manu aren’t run of the mill guards and Pop and the Spurs do have the best scouting eye there is, but it is difficult to argue with results if Duncan does indeed win this year’s championship.

    The Kobe fan in me still says what Kobe has been doing is far more impressive, especially being a guard and all as opposed to a center, but if we give players credit for whatever has happened on the floor, I am not too annoyed by people claiming that it was Duncan’s decade.

  21. rr,
    Many of us agree with you that signing Howard makes the most sense. It is just that if he forces his way out, I won’t throw myself under a bus.

    Somehow he has to learn he is a part of a team and not necessarily the primary leader – even with Kobe missing in action. That is the huge lesson that Kobe had to learn from Phil Jackson. Being the leader doesn’t mean you always lead in everything – sometimes you have to simply join in and stop complaining – see the old Derek Fisher.

  22. i honestly do not like Simmons, for his anti-kobe/lakers take on every scenario. although i agree that he has improved on not bashing lakers fans, he seems to limit it now.

    i am not seeing howard declining, though the fundamentals in offense is really a suspect. the defensive presence he can give is A if not A+. he’s the only guy in FA that we can lock for several years and be the 1st piece in rebuilding process when Kobe retires (sad), and i believe that he’s the best talent we can get, with our limited financial problems.
    with todays handling of salaries, Howard should be given max deal, as you can count on him on defense. i am not expecting a 30ppg 15rpg from him, i think that is difficult to achieve, but having him on the defensive end can really help our team. again, for bringing in future talent.

    the real threat is the houston team, i remember they used a different approach on J.Lins contract so that new-york wont be able to match, however i am not good with salaries so I am hoping we can outwit them and we can lock D12.

    personally, i want howard to wear lakers uniform next year, however, if he choose to take his talent to texas, i’ll accept that and cement my impression of him that he does not want to be given high expectations.

    as for the team i am rooting this playoffs, its the heat. i thought they are locked in the east but these Pacers are real, i see them as the Spurs of the Eastern conference.

  23. howard is bad…will not miss him when he goes as long as we get something in return

  24. It is just that if he forces his way out, I won’t throw myself under a bus.

    Well, fine, but that is sort of a separate question. There will be a lot of emotional reactions, here and elsewhere, if Howard walks. I expect that “Good riddance” will outweigh “We’re doomed” and people can react however they want. Your reaction will probably be something along the lines of, “We should remain confident in ownership and the FO and no one should blame them for Howard leaving.”

    But how people may feel about it is a separate issue from what I think it probably will mean on the floor and in relation to the roster, from the FA market, to the team defense, to the future, to the players the Lakers might conceivably get in an S/T. None of those scenarios is favorable to the Lakers that I can see, reagrdless of what people think about Howard.

  25. DH: When we traded for DH, if you remember, many on this board had given up on that possibility, and I continued to beat the DH drum (relentlessly, and annoyingly) until the deal was ultimately done. So I was optimistic that time around. This time, I am increasingly becoming pessimistic. I think DH, like me is focused on the large components of the Lakers, and that is KB and MD. Unfortunately I do not think he is ecstatic about either. However, DH is also concerned about his image, so he will not make any “demands” in this area. There will be no ultimatum about MD, or KB (being the focus of the offense), or ownership. IMO DH doesn’t like any of those things, so I am afraid he will simply leave, rather than deal with it. Had we unilaterally taken action to change any of this stuff, it could have changed our odds, but now, I think DH does not want to be tagged as the guy who forced the Lakers to: _________. Honestly – if I were Howard’s agent – I would probably advise him to leave. A large chunk of the people on this board do not like him, and if he goes to Houston or similar, everyone will love him (at first). Mitch’s comments also concern me. I realize public statements are one thing, and what is going on are another, but this type of war of words with DH in the press, is a game that can’t be won (history shows us this) . Lastly, the Kobe injury does not help. The most likely scenario is for Kobes to come back let’s say 1/2 way through the year. Bad for DH (in his mind). We struggle early and then guess what – KB to the rescue. Even if DH plays well, then KB comes back and all changes at that point. I am not clear who within the Lakers organization is the guy who is putting their arm around DH and explaining to him why he should stay. It does not seem to be Mitch, and there is no way it is KB, MD or Jim. This is where a DF or a Brian Shaw would help tremendously. So – yes – I realize that many of you tire of the DH debates, but the fact is that this determines most of our future for the next few years. Many of you also don’t like to speculate and would rather just wait and see what happens. That is OK, but my nature is to calculate the odds, and after counting the cards remaining in the deck I am not liking what I am seeing. I laughingly said we had a 35% chance to win the championship going into last year. That is about where I would put the odds of us signing DH – 35%. So there is still hope, and if we miss out on DH, I will not throw myself under a bus either, but it will mean that the Lakers have missed the Buss.

  26. I thought Simmons made some good points, but much of his advanced stats comparisons were based on the past two years. Two seasons ago, Dwight played for months with a back injury, which had a significant impact on his stats. The quality of his teammates was also worse than in the years he made those deep playoff runs. The media always seems to underestimate how good and clutch Turkolu was in those years. Last season, i think it was obvious that the Dwight who ended the season was by far the better player than the one one who started the season, which again had a significant impact on his stats. Couple that with the fact he was not playing in a system that was ideal for his skill set, along with being the numbert two or three option, and its easy to see why his stats have suffered.

    Its possible that Dwight may never be the same Dwight from his earlier years, but the downward projectory that Simmons presents is exaggerated and lacks context.

  27. rr — I am in the camp that hopes Howard moves on, but clearly, my hope there is that there will be a sign-and-trade of some sorts to get something back.

    LT mitchell — I agree that Dwight was a better player in the latter half of the season, but there are still so many off-court issues with him — not to mention he’s just not enjoyable to watch; not likable enough to cheer for — that I’d like to see someone else take his roster spot in L.A. next season.

    There are worse things than featuring Pau Gasol more often until whatever time Kobe comes back.

    And I don’t believe having Dwight on the roster makes the Lakers any more championship-worthy than not having him. Even if he is a top four center, he can’t be trusted with the ball in the fourth quarter because he shots free throws like a manatee, and he’s never shown that drive that championship players need. He’s just not a winner — the Olympics anecdote Simmons made supports that — and others in the league know Howard’s character, so few will say, “Let’s go to L.A. and work in the same locker room as him.”

  28. Robert: Great post and great points. A lot of things are working against the Lakers. Kobe and D’Antoni I agree do seem like the biggest factors in his decision to return. The extra year may play a part in his decision as well, but I think Dwight focuses on what/who can make him better than who/what he can make better. You hear Durant/LeBron/Kobe speak from a team standpoint but they put pressure on themselves to get their team to the top. Great players want that responsibility Dwight puts the pressure on everyone else but himself. I don’t hate Dwight just think as I’ve been saying he should be better than he is and isn’t as good as he thinks. From great players fans expect great things and their seems to be a ceiling to Dwight and Paul’s game. While their ceiling is 95% better than most players in the league LeBron, Durant, Westbrook, Rondo, Rose (pre injury), Wall are defying odds and displaying unlimited growth. Dwight so fundamentally sound defensively, when he’s not block hunting, and Paul brilliance on offense are great but the visual dominance of a game isn’t on the level of those other guys. Dwight’s sheer talent is on their level and I want for him to display a breakthrough in his game which he hasn’t shown us yet. He’s kind of in a position that Pau was in after the 08 Finals when he was dominated by Celtics front line. Have to accept that challenge.

    After shooting 79% from the line the last 5 years Pau shot 70% this year. Probably a direct correlation with his leg injuries not being able to get bend his knees and get lift. Been mentioned here before about Pau not having lift or touch and missing close rim shots. He shot 55% from 3-9 feet last year and dropped to 46% this year. Hopefully the procedure he’s had will help him regain some juice in his legs so he can make those patented over the shoulder shots more consistently this year. Also speaks to his skill set he can help in other ways. He averaged 4.1 assists this year. As his role has been diminished he can beat teams with passing and is still a top 5 passer in the league.

    By the way a little too much love to a proud Celtics fan on here. Simmons is a good writer but he’s still a part of the Leprechaun crew. A certain display of venom is required towards that guy.

  29. I find it always helps to be realistic about relationships. While you may lie to others, never lie to yourself. So with that in mind, the question is: Who needs who more?

    -Do the Lakers need Howard more than Howard needs the Lakers?
    -Does D’ Antoni need the Lakers more than the Lakers need him?
    -Same question with Phil Jackson, Pau Gasol, Kobe, Jim Buss, & anyone else you think is important to the success of this franchise, both short & long term.

    Tough times, tough questions, tough decisions. It’s not easy trying to eat your cake & have it too. Time to get real.

  30. rr,
    I agree that retaining Howard is our best step forward at this time. However, you are right that I won’t be throwing the front office under any bus anytime soon either. This situation is complex and Simmons’ article highlighted more than advanced statistics. Every long-time blogger here knows I take my advanced stats with a large grain of salt, because I think they highlight situations and things we should be looking at, but they do not prove anything. Incidentally, my college degree is in engineering and I do have more than a passing familiarity with statistics.

    Simmons’ article also illustrated the history of big players over time and I was surprised just how soon they all peaked – although Kareem did hold that peak for longer (he was also know for his advanced practices in maintaining his health and never became the huge body other centers became with age). Even though Dwight skipped college, he has been taking a beating for a number of years and is past the point where other centers found their peak. What this means to me is that he isn’t going to get better and he may start to slide fairly soon into his five year contract (see Albert Pujols for a similar example). What this could mean is that he gets a bit better next year because he is fully recovered from injury, but that is the best we will see from him.

    No matter the payout in the next two years, that might be a steep price to pay during the following three years – i.e. his salary starts to approach $30M/yr. Unless the CBA is renegotiated in 2017 and the players win more in this round, I don’t see a lot of flexibility as Dwight ages. Therefore, I see the front office having to weight quite a number of things. I also think the situation is largely out of their hands, at this time, as Dwight is now getting specific pressure from everywhere and he is not exactly a decisive person (another leadership quality???).

    That is what I got out of Simmons’ article.

  31. Aloha Robert,

    On Kobe and Dwight. I do think Kobe will reach out to Dwight over the summer, he has tweeted as much. I also think the Kobe/Dwight dynamic changed over the course of the season. Dwight expressed a great deal of admiration for Kobe and said he was learning a lot from him. So I believe this would raise your 35% odds to at least 50/50 of him resigning.

    I think more then Kobe or more then who the coach is, Dwight will be more interested in where he can win. On the brighter side if he walks and we amnesty Ron and cut Duhon(only 1.2 mil guaranteed) we have our MLE and Bi Annual exception to use! Ya, i know not the same.

  32. the Simmons article is very good, thanks for the link Mark -
    Simmons lays it on thick in his criticism, but there are some excellent points made (as others have noted). Though he seems to take the bakc surgery and subsequent recovery a bit too lightly IMO.
    `Fredo Buss´ is funny even though it does have a shade of green lingering there.

    Charlie Rose (who´s always been great) and Phil is wonderful!

  33. The only advanced stat that Simmons used was PER, and Simmons failed to mention the key fact that PER is related to USG, an odd omission in view of the fact that he could have used that to get in a jab about Kobe’s gunning. Howard’s rate stats didn’t drop that much–except for his FT%, and that problem started last year. Another problem with Simmons’ numbers is that Howard’s DRB% dropped off a lot more than ORB%, and research has shown that DRBs are in part an opportunity stat. Playing with Pau and for a time with Hill, and then Clark, cut down on Howard’s opportunities. All four of them had higher RB rates than anyone on the 2012 Orlando Magic.

    Howard’s big dropoff, other than all the missed FTs, was in defensive mobility, explosiveness and activity–but D is a team thing. I think that the constant breakdowns on the perimeter probably made Howard look worse at times than he really was.

    As to the personality stuff…Simmons used to say that LeBron and Dirk lacked the killer instinct needed to lead a champion. Simmons used to say that Kobe was too selfish and mean to be the best guy on a champion.

    That said, one of Simmons’ strong suits is NBA history, and his comps to past centers are well-taken. My guess is that Howard will get to about 90% of his peak and stay near there. You mentioned Albert Pujols…well, say what you want about Dwight Howard, but as the KBros said this week, the man takes care of his body, and he is a unique physical specimen. I would not bet against his body holding up pretty well.

    But, again, it’s simple: what is the better option? There isn’t one, as you suggest. So, IMO everybody that might matter to D12–Buss, Kupchak, Jeannie, MDA, Kobe, Nash, Pau, Kareem if he’ll do it–needs to let Howard know that he is wanted here, in case it helps.

    Finally, as noted many times, look who is left in the playoffs:

    Hibbert, MGasol, Randolph, Duncan–and James. The teams most disappointed about being out either lost a Top 20 guy to injury (Rose, Westbrook) or had a key big injured (Griffin). Howard, whatever his flaws, is both a big and a Top 20 guy.

  34. He’s just not a winner — the Olympics anecdote Simmons made supports that —

    Like I say above, this is an old story with Simmons. He has Kobe anecdotes, James anecdotes etc. Simmons has, to his credit, tried to learn about the new wave of NBA analysis. But he is ultimately an old-school narrative “heart of a winner” guy when it comes to sports analysis, and Howard’s narrative is not good from any angle right now.

    It’s fine if you don’t like Howard and therefore don’t want him back, but I think it is unwise to pretend that there is an analytical, factual, or even speculative basis for believing that Howard’s leaving will actually help the team win more games over the next 2-3 years, and it is never wise to look beyond a 2-3 year window in the NBA.

    Like I said a few weeks ago, if LeBron James were still ringless in Cleveland and had grown up a Lakers fan…OK, maybe then Howard’s leaving could be a plus (although I flatly disagree with your idea that other players around the league will not want to come here if Howard is here). But as it is…the Lakers will be in a very diificult situation if Howard walks.

  35. it will b a difficult situation if howard walks for nothing. but any sort of sign and trade will likely help us immediately by utilizing pau the way he is used to, and could get us depth so it will not b as bad a situation as u may think.

  36. http://www.latimes.com/sports/lakersnow/la-sp-ln-stan-van-gundy-dwight-howard-unhappy-role-20130522,0,4623792.story

    Kind of funny to hear Stan say Dwight has to share the billing and won’t be the featured guy with Lakers. In Orlando he didn’t dominate possessions. His usage rate the last 5 years in Orlando was 25.5. This year he was at 22.2. He’s definitely not used to one player dominating the ball like Kobe does. Turk’s average usage his 5 years in Orlando with Dwight was 22.9. Kobe was 31.9 this year. Pretty drastic difference. Maybe, Van Gundy means he doesn’t have nearly as many play calls for him, the offense not being built around him and him not being the best player on the team. He was used almost as often as he was in Orlando he just wasn’t the focal point.

    As good as the post about D’Antoni and Dwight meeting in the middle was. One that has video of how Dwight was used this year opposed to in Orlando would be even better.

  37. Michael H: I appreciate your optimism. KB will attempt to speak to DH, however I think DH might be looking for more than a comparison to Tyson Chandler this time. Further, he does not want to meet in the middle. He wants to be catered to. I also appreciate your optimism about what would happen if he doesn’t stay. While I appreciate it, I do not agree. What we do with amnesty, or our exceptions will all be done from the bottom of a crater if he leaves.
    rr: I also find the anti-DH argument interesting in that there is no alternate plan. Unless of course you count Laker manifest destiny as an alternate plan.
    Kevin: Interesting. There is nothing at all logical about this process or the way it is being commented on by VG and others. Some did like my comparison to a match found on a dating site. I am guessing that is because dating is much more rational and logical than the DH signing process is going to be.
    harold: We got some value for Shaq too, but the next few years were not good. I would not wager that a DH deal would be any better.

  38. Exactly how is Mark Gasol as “gifted” offensively as Tim Duncan? At 37, Duncan just schooled Gasol. What would Timmy do to Gasol 10 years ago?

  39. Apparently the NBA is looking into Wade’s elbow to Stephenson’s head from last game. Anyone wanna bet on whether or not they follow their own rules and suspend him? They suspended J.R. Smith for swinging an elbow and Wade has history for this kind of behavior…

  40. Maybe I have a short memory, but I can’t remember another playoff season having this many overtime games. It seems like every other playoff game is going into overtme.

  41. Wow!!! The Charlie Rose interview was great!! I really miss Phil. His confidence and the confidence that he gave to the team was something special. He may be an egomaniac but he is and was what the Lakers needed. I understand respites, and with all that was going on in his life, he needed one. Phil for three or four years with either B Shaw or Rambis coming in under his wing would have served us all well. Howard would not be an issue inside of the comfort of the Triangle. It would have helped him succeed like no other system would. Look what it did to the lazy giant Andrew Bynum.

  42. I would love to see the Lakers go after both Francisco Garcia and Dorell Wright. They both can be had for the little money we are working with. Both are semi-athletic and can shoot. Neither can really create their own shots, but what they lack there, they more than make up on the defensive end. In addition both can play multiple positions and are long and rangey. We do not need another big if Howard resigns. We will have Howard, Pau (he’s not going anywhere), Jordan Hill and Jamison (if he decides to return). If either Howard or Jamison don’t return then either Elton Brand or Jermaine O’Neal will have to do.

    Keep Morris, Uncle Earl (he will give us a hometown discount) and Meeks (he tries hard and he’s cheap). Duhon (nuff said), Ebanks (what did he do wrong?), and Sacre (effort is great but he has no talent) all have to go. Personally, I would sign Ebanks to a minimum and amnesty MWP, but the Lakers will probably keep MWP. Doesn’t really matter, this will be his last year with LA. Kobe, Nash and Blake aren’t going anywhere.

  43. Sorry, Sorry, Sorry!!! Ebanks and MWP can go if we get Garcia and Wright and then add Chase Budinger. Since they want Earl to bulk up 20 pounds to play the 4, then add three guys who can play (and have played) the 2 and 3 positions. If Dwight comes back trade Pau for younger pieces and if Dwight doesn’t come back give Drew a one year $10 million flyer with Greg Oden as his one year $2 million back-up (it could work….laughing uncontrollably).

  44. Let’s break down the 10 realities of Dwight’s situation — not what we think we know, but what we actually know.
    ______

    ” .. but what we actually know.” Those are the 5 words that stand out to me the most within the Simmons Article because what one actually knows is considered Fact. Something that he can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt. While very ‘entertaining’, its premise is primarily based off his ‘Opinions’. Out of his “10 realities of Dwight’s situation”, I’ll credit him for 4 that ” .. we actually know.” Realities Number 2, 4, 7 and 10 (and I’m stretching it with Reality Number 7 due to the fact that there are numerous fans, some within this FB&G Community, who would love to see him walk. Within the confines of the article, Reality Number 4 could be debated. However, it wouldn’t be by me because I happen to agree with Simmons). Everything else within his realities are based off of what he thinks (Reality Number 8) and not what we know (Reality Number 2).

  45. Also, out of the 4 individuals (I excluded Duncan based off the fact that, while still extremely productive, he’s at the tail end of his career) that he (Simmons) compared Dwight to stats wise, I would take a healthy Dwight over each and every one of them 7 days a week and twice on Sunday’s (I’m still laughing at the fact that M. Gasol was named Defensive Player of the Year). The Finances are irrelevant due to the fact that, under the CBA, that’s how the salaries are situated/slotted for the players and as Simmons stated himself, “Despite everything you just read, the Rockets, Mavericks, Hawks, Warriors .. would almost definitely still pay Dwight Howard $118 million over five years.”

    Finally, I wonder how this same article would have played out if one was to replace the word ‘Lakers’ with ‘Celtics’

    BTW: I meant to have this post as part of my previous comment/post, but I accidentally hit the ‘Publish’ button before I was able to add it.

  46. Busboys: “Phil for three or four years with either B Shaw or Rambis coming in under his wing would have served us all well. ” We can still dream and get a modified version of this.
    SAS: Is anyone getting on my anti-Spurs bandwagon or do you guys really want to hear how the Spurs are equalling the Phil/Kobe Lakers? I am dreading the possibility, even if it will prove the importance of coaching – again.

  47. Robert,

    Anyone who remembers the Spurs repeatedly handing the Lakers their backsides during the Harris years should have that hatred cemented as default. The conundrum is with the Heat factor. With that, I can only hope for the highly improbable Grizzlies comeback and the Pacers somehow getting past the Heat to have any level of solace for the remainder of this season. As it is, I’ve been prepared to take my medicine all year.

  48. rr — There’s a distinction between what I typed and what you wrote in response. You said keeping Howard will help the Lakers to win more games over the next two or three seasons. I don’t dispute that. But my prior point wasn’t about just winning games — I had written that I don’t believe having Dwight on the roster makes the Lakers any more championship-worthy than not having him.

    Winning games in May and June takes something extra, and there’s plenty to suggest Dwight lacks whatever that “it” is. Can he acquire it later on? Who am I to say he won’t? But he’s not shown it yet, and nearly $120 million over five years is a lot to invest in guy who’s yet to showcase that added drive over nine years as a pro.

    We can agree to disagree on whether free agents would want to play with Dwight, but look at the way the Magic enjoyed sticking it to him last season and tell me he’s someone others want to be around. Look at the infighting that happened in L.A. last season, or honestly ask if the guys on the roster now are enjoying this drawn out “Maybe Dallas, maybe Atlanta” routine. If Dwight wants to be a Laker, he needs to act like one and show others where his heart lies. The fact that he’s playing this out is already hurting the franchise, since Kupchak can’t mave his next move until he knows what Dwight will do.

    If Howard leaves, yes, the Lakers are in a bad place. But that may be inevitable. There’s also a great deal of risk in tying up so much cap space with one player who’s got so many question marks surrounding him. There’s no “safe” play, regardless of which way Mitch goes (or is forced to go, based on Dwight’s decision).

    It’s just my opinion, but I do not believe Dwight Howard will ever lead his team to an NBA title. He may win a ring, but it will take an alpha dog alongside to get him there. (Like Robinson needed Duncan in 1999, for example.)

    Stay or go, I do not see the Lakers contending for a title over the next two or three seasons. The cap situation is just too cumbersome to put the needed pieces into place. If Howard stays, I hope the Lakers can rebuild around him in 2014 going forward. But if he leaves, his absence will free up money for the pursuit of other, less expensive parts who may cumulatively add up to a better chance to go far come playoff time.

    And for Lakers fans, the playoffs are what matters more than anything — they just don’t hang Pacific Division Champion banners. (Oh, wait… the Clippers do. But you get my point.)

  49. Hale: Yes – Yes – “hatred cemented as default” I would love to see more of that in Lakerland. And yes – the way I look at the Heat. Sometimes you must make a deal at Yalta in order to rid yourself of someone worse.
    Kevin: Forgot to give you props for the Celtic hatred. Remember that was my quest last year. I have been reduced to rooting against our rivals.
    Hale/Kevin: You are both welcome in the 100 section of Staples or in an away arena. If you are standing up screaming hatred at the opposition, and notice one other guy doing it, we will have introduced ourselves in person. Another way to identify ourselves will be that we are the only ones wearing the free t-shirts that the Lakers handed out.
    Chris J: Your point is well taken. I am with rr on the DH debate. However the alternative is scorched Earth (as you imply), and I said a much last year. Sometimes you do need to hit rock bottom. I think those are the options. Others who think we lose DH and somehow come up with a miracle to contend during Kobe’s career are dreaming (and that is coming from someone who dreams a lot).

  50. I had written that I don’t believe having Dwight on the roster makes the Lakers any more championship-worthy than not having him.

    _____

    Like I said, that’s a narrative, and it has been used on players from Chamberlain to Erving to O’Neal to Bryant to Nowitzki to James. It is mostly just a way of saying, “I don’t like this guy.” I don’t like Howard, much, either, but I am extremely skeptical of attempts to frame such feelings in analytical terms. Simmons has been doing that for many years and been proven wrong again and again and again.

    As to Howard’s not properly appreciating the Laker mystique and tradition well, that may be, but I would also suggest that

    a) You could have said that of Kobe when he was 29 and demanding to be traded, rather than keeping the faith.
    b) You could say the same thing about Jim Buss now.

    And, the cap situation is not “cumbersome” at all after this year. The Lakers’ best chance to get back to the Finals over the next 2-3 years is to keep Howard, add a good PG who will not command the max next year, like Kyle Lowry, and then hope that Kevin Love hits FA and wants to come here. Any scenarios that revolve around improvement being based on Howard’s leaving are purely speculative–at best.

  51. Off topic, but I’m rooting for the Pacers to win it all.

  52. With all due respect,Houston,Dallas or Atlanta have zero reason to trade anything for a player they can sign outright. There will be no draft picks for Dwight. To get a player the Lakers would have to Amnesty MWP first and couldn’t take back more than a few million in salary.
    The best the Lakers could get for a sign-n-trade is a monster TPE and a young player the other team has given up on,or no longer fits.

  53. rr: Lowry is injury prone and not that good. Also a slight problem with authority, can’t seem to get along with coaches. Following your plan the focus should be to target who they think will be top 5 players at their position the next 2 to 3 years. Love, Wall, Derozan, Parsons.

    I think us Lakers fans are feeling like Paul and Deron when it came out they were tired of waiting for him and his indecisiveness. In the end after all the anti Dwight comments I make I still want him on the Lakers and hope he stays. Just hope he comes back as a better player and more aggressive trying to put himself in the best player of his era conversation.

    Watching Pacers-Heat seeing Spoelstra make adjustments was nice. Getting Bosh/Haslem outside jumpers early forcing Hibbert out on the perimeter. And more ball movement game 3. Not sure how he gets his team to buy in but they do and refreshing to see. Hopefully whoever is on the Lakers buys into the game to game game plan next year. Instead of doing the same things that never seem to work the last 2 years.

  54. Love and Wall will both get max deals. As to “not that good”–well, Lowry is 27, and he is far better than Darius Morris will ever be. He also might want to get out of Toronto and play here. Parsons will probably stay in Houston. Derozan might be a possibility.

    Stephen is a Houston fan, so he is touchy about these issues from the other direction, but in this case he is mostly right. The only way that the Lakers will get a significant return in a S/T for Howard is if Howard’s agent plays two of Howard’s non-Lakers suitors off of each other and succeeds in convincing the teams involved that Howard really will sign with whichever team makes the deal to get him the 118M rather than the 87M. James and Bosh, remember, were both “traded” but Cleveland and Toronto had very little leverage. So, people thinking about getting Omer Asik and Chandler Parsons for Howard probably need to think about it some more.

    The other way that it could happen is if Howard wants to go to the Warriors, as Stephen suggests by omitting them. They are over the cap, and Andrew Bogut, for all those wishcasting about the summer of 2014, has a big expiring deal for 13M.

    But Point A for this discussion is realizing that almost all of the leverage–every bit of it–belongs to Dwight Howard.

  55. Warren Wee Lim May 27, 2013 at 6:06 am

    There are a few things I would like to point out for my fellow FBGers. I hope it helps.

    1. It is very much wiser to wait for the Heat’s situation to settle down and field a championship team then. That of course does not coincide anymore with Kobe’s prime, but we’re referring to a Lakers team past 2013.

    2. I tend to agree, that the Lakers’ chances to win it all in 2013 with Dwight is not that different without Dwight. I couldn’t guarantee past this year (2013-14) but it sure doesn’t look like a championship roster in 2013-14 as is.

    3. The Lakers can start to acquire players that will be part of the future.

    Supposing the path of least resistance DOES happen, we re-sign Dwight and Earl Clark to respective deals, we need a serious revamp to the roster if we intend to compete. I am advocating starting Jordan Hill and Earl Clark beside Dwight to give us great D and great rebounding at the 3-4-5 spot. We are also younger and more athletic with that move. What happens to Pau? Well, if not the amnesty then he would need to be traded for pieces that are 1) expiring and/or 2) part of the future. They may not necessarily start for us immediately but they need to be part of our plan for 2014 cap space or part of 2014 and beyond.

    Kobe’s comeback (oh he will) will be a big boost. By then most of our guys would have played well together or we’d be in more trouble than we were a year ago.

    After FA’s dust settles, teams who missed out on getting players via cap space, and those that need to get onto the salary cap floor will need salaries to absorb and this is where a Pau deal would most-likely happen.

  56. rr,
    True,I’m a Rockets fan and WANT Dwight on “my’ team.
    That said,at the end of the day I think Dwight stays in LA. But from where I used to be certain,and believed any “source close to Dwight” talking about interest in Houston,Dallas,wherever was just to apply pressure to get D’Antoni fired,now I’m not so sure. Now,I believe Dwight is open to-and looking hard at-leaving LA. I’ve gone from 99% sure Dwight stays in LA to close to 50-50.
    The catch-22 for the Lakers is Dwight is going to want to know how the Lakers are going to retool going forward and they can’t determine how they’re going to until they know what Dwight will do.

    From the FWIW department.
    There’s a poster on a popular Rockets site who appears to be working in a Sports Agency in Houston who talks w/colleagues in LA. Much of what he said earlier has been “reported” since by others,whether that’s circular “reporting” or common behind scenes knowledge is debatable.
    The main points:
    Dwight is unhappy w/D’Antoni. (Duh!)
    The California Income Tax bugs him.(Me too,and I don’t make millions. But for Dwight,going from no-tax Fla to paying Cali taxes had to be an unpleasant experience.)
    Olajuwon really recruited him hard and supposedly sold Dwight on Houston being a good place to live. Hakeem pitched him hard during All-Star game.
    Dwight is intrigued by Harden and the rest and Harden has been texting/calling him frequently.
    Allegedly the 5th yr the Lakers can offer is not the killer app as “everybody” opts out after 4 yrs.
    The Golden State thing was a ploy by Dwight to find out who was leaking from his side as he’s determined not to go thru another circus.
    Howard’s Agent-Dan Fegan-hates Houston,doesn’t feel they can seal the deal and build a title team. (As an aside,not mentioned by “source”,Fegan has an EXCELLENT relationship w/Mark Cuban. Personally I believe that’s why Dallas is listed as a destination. And Fegan gets more up front if Dwight signs the 5 yr deal w/LA instead of the 4 yr deals elsewhere. At least in Dallas,Fegan can recoup some by steering more clients Mavs way. Has to be a consideration if Dwight’s endorsements stay depressed and Dwight starts thinking of firing him.)
    http://bbs.clutchfans.net/showthread.php?t=238488

  57. In my role of a couch GM,I don’t think it’s going to be too hard to put together a decent Lakers team this yr.
    Howard and Gasol figured out how to play together at the end of the yr and developed a nice chemistry(Mainly because Pau looked to pass to Howard).
    Using that as the core of the half court offense,find a couple of wings who can fly down the court,shoot 3s and play some D.
    Somebody like Courtney Lee,reasonable price tag,can defend PGs,SGs and most SFs,shoots 3s and runs. An athletic SF,plentiful and relatively cheap.
    The smalls run at every opportunity and play off bigs in half court.
    Hill as third big able to play off either Howard or Gasol. Sign some outside shooting vet for fourth big.
    Goudelock as offense off bench,perhaps a Garcia for vet leadership off bench and some athletic wing who can do 2 of shoot,rebound,defend.
    The starting wings run,the bigs pound and the bench provides pressure thru youth,running.

    May not be a Championship team,but should stay in lower half of Play-Off contention and the team can develop a strong identity and defined roles when Kobe comes back for hopefully a strong boost.
    It does depend on D’Antoni not running his starters into the ground and trusting young players even when they make stupid mistakes.

  58. me too, Harold.