Dwight Howard and the Los Angeles Lakers can hide the truth all they want but the reality is simple: something is just not working. Undoubtedly, the Lakers struggles this year are attributable to a wide variety of factors—from a coaching change mid-season to a seemingly endless rotation of injuries—but Howard has not been contributing like he and the Lakers had expected when Los Angeles originally made the acquisition.
Howard has been sidelined himself already this year which has not helped. In fact, that very subject was the spark of some controversial comments by none other than Kobe Bryant. In the
hullabaloo, trades have even made their way into discussion between the Los
Angeles Lakers and their notorious rival, the Boston Celtics.
This discussion was a great excuse to break out ESPN’s NBA trade machine and throw around potential trades for Dwight Howard (a superstar who the Lakers haven’t even had for a full season…).
Dwight Howard (C) and Antawn Jamison (PF) for Rajon Rondo (PG) and Jeff Green (PF)
This was certainly the most intuitive trade to begin with. Howard for Rondo itself could not work because of the huge salary that the Celtics would take on with the All Star center. Parting with Jeff Green is not ideal for the Celtics and could negate any possibility of this trade; however, it is still enticing for the Celtics because they can play Howard this year whereas Rondo can only watch.
Dwight Howard (C) for Roy Hibbert (C) and D.J. Augustin (PG)
The trade value here does favor the Indiana Pacers slightly but there are a multitude of reasons why this could work out well for the Lakers. For one, it would put the responsibility of scoring back on Pau Gasol and allow him to play his game in the paint. Roy Hibbert is good for about 10 points per game which helps cover what Howard provides offensively. The Pacers center is much less of a liability from the free throw line which is a huge relief for LA late in games. Moreover, Hibbert is a defensive force, averaging 8 rebounds and almost three blocks per game. Not quite as good as Dwight, of course, but he is no Amare Stoudemire.
Dwight Howard (C) for Andrew Bogut (C), Brandon Rush (SG), and Klay Thompson (SG)
Although the Lakers would be risking something considering Rush is done for the year and Bogut is slowly coming back, this trade is plausible because of the skill set in the Warriors trade assets. Klay Thompson is one of the best shooters in the NBA and Bogut is an above average center when healthy. Brandon Rush has potential considering he’s in his prime at 27, is an excellent three point shooter who can give great production even in limited minutes. If the Warriors are willing to trade Klay Thompson, this trade would benefit both sides.
Dwight Howard (C) for Carlos Boozer (PF) and Richard Hamilton (SG)
Trade rumors have swirled around Carlos Boozer, and Kobe Bryant would welcome a respected pro like Boozer. The Bulls forward does have a couple years on Dwight but his veteran presence would be valued. Similarly, Rip Hamilton provides that playoff savvy skill necessary in the time that
Kobe rests. Hamilton's 6’7” frame can also play
sparing minutes at small forward when Boozer and Gasol are on the floor.
Dwight Howard (C) for LeBron James (SF)
I think Jim Buss had a dream about this one..
Dwight Howard (C) for Paul Millsap (PF) and Marvin Williams (SF)
Paul Millsap is another player who has been on the trade market and has given solid production for the Jazz both offensively and defensively. The Lakers would probably need additional incentives to accept this trade but if they are desperate to move him before the trade deadline, Millsap is one of the best available big men. Williams isn’t playing nearly as well as you would expect of a second overall pick but at 26 years old, he still has potential that the Lakers can tap into. He is a high percentage free throw shooter who has the ability to go for 15 and 6—nothing too remarkable, but definitely a solid role player.
Three way trade between
Los Angeles Lakers, Boston
Maybe I was trying to get a too creative with this one, but here’s an option when you consider Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard, Paul Millsap, and Rajon Rondo in a single trade. The team that would be least satisfied with this one is
Utah because they're giving up Millsap and Williams for Gasol and Bass. Los
Angeles and Boston, on the other hand, would
take this trade no question.