The Los Angeles Lakers’ acquisition of Dwight Howard received universal acclaim from basketball pundits. Whereas in the case of most trades analysts having a tough time reaching a consensus on whether it was good or bad move, this one got widespread love from absolutely everyone.
Basically, the Lakers went out and traded an injury-prone center whose stock will probably never be higher for the best big man in the league. It was a brilliant move, any which way you want to look at it. The only hesitation anyone had, really, was how Howard’s back would hold up. Even though most believed that he would recover from his surgery and return to full strength soon enough, nobody knew exactly when that “soon enough” would be.
Well, if reports out of Lakers training camp are accurate – it might end up being a lot sooner than anyone could have originally anticipated
As reported by Dave McMenamin on Wednesday: A source who witnessed Howard at the portion of practice that was closed to the media described Howard's level of play to ESPNLosAngeles.com as "unbelievable."
That’s a pretty glowing endorsement. On top of that, Howard went on record and said that he was looking to return in time for some preseason games.
"Hopefully, I'll be back for some preseason games," Howard said. "I think we're going to need it for chemistry and all that stuff. But, like I said, I'm not going to rush it. I'm going to continue to practice. We've had some great practices. Today was really good, so I'm happy."
He wasn’t alone in that regard. His teammates were pretty giddy at the prospect of him being back on the floor, too.
"He worked just as much as everybody else, so that was good," Pau Gasol said. "I didn't expect that to happen today."
Is there any guarantee that Howard will be back and at 100 percent in time for the preseason (or even regular season)? No, of course not. But it is looking a lot more likely than it did when this deal first went down.
Stay tuned, things are about to get really interesting.
(Kudos ESPN LA)