A week into the 2011-2012 NBA season and the Los Angeles Lakers are a .500 team. While that seems pretty forgivable in the post-lockout context, it's quite unacceptable given the team's talent and history.
The Lakers are considered contenders, but not favorites to win the NBA crown. I feel they need a legitimate presence on both ends to improve their chances to a title. Enter Dwight Howard.
I outlined in a previous post how the Lakers could get Dwight Howard in a three-team trade with the Orlando Magic and New Orleans Hornets. But we all know how the Lakers were screwed by the NBA in the botched Chris Paul trade. Things are also a little more complicated with a key trade piece in Lamar Odom actually getting traded to the Dallas Mavericks before the season started.
I've come up with a few other scenarios where the Lakers could get Howard using ESPN's Trade Machine.
- Los Angeles Lakers get Dwight Howard and Chris Duhon
- Orlando Magic get Andrew Bynum, Derrick Caracter and Matt Barnes
In this trade scenario, the Lakers would be offering the emerging Bynum and expiring contracts to the Magic. Also, the Lakers would be absorbing Duhon's 3-year contract.
- Lakers get Dwight Howard and Hedo Turkoglu
- Magic get Bynum, Metta World Peace, and Matt Barnes
This is not too different from the first scenario, except the Lakers would be taking in a bigger contract in Hedo Turkoglu and giving up better talent in World Peace. This seems to make more sense, but any trade involving World Peace is a reach.
- Lakers get Dwight Howard and Luis Scola
- Magic get Andrew Bynum, Kevin Martin, and Jordan Hill
- Houston Rockets get Pau Gasol and Hedo Turkoglu
This is a little more complicated and it involves the Houston Rockets, one of the principals of the failed Chris Paul trade. It's been said that the Rockets have their eye on Pau Gasol and this trade gets it done. The Lakers get to replace their starting frontline with new pieces completely.
- Lakers get Dwight Howard and Mehmet Okur
- Magic get Andrew Bynum, Anthony Morrow, and Jordan Farmar
- New Jersey Nets get Pau Gasol, Hedo Turkoglu, and Chris Duhon
This now involves teams that are in Howard's wish list and solves a lot of the teams' needs. The Nets get a better supporting cast with Deron Williams after losing out on the Dwight Howard Sweepstakes and the Magic get to shed their unwanted contracts. The Lakers get the best center in the league.
The scenarios are just,well, scenarios and this could change as the trade deadline in March.