Howard to the Lakers Shakes My Confidence In League
Part of me has lost faith in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Dwight Howard was traded from the Magic to the Lakers late last week in an absolutely devastating move as a Blazers fan. Other notable moves as part of the trade are center Andrew Bynum is headed to the Philadelphia 76ers and Andre Iguodala is heading to the Denver Nuggets.
Most notably, the Lakers didn’t give up Gasol and didn’t take on a huge, ugly contract from the Orlando Magic. This should be unforgivable. There is no reason for such a lopsided trade to occur. The Magic, after playing hardball for a long time, basically just rolled over.
Seriously, why not just wait out the trade a little longer, hold Howard to his contract, and then trade him to a team that is desperate for a big center in their playoff push? This makes no sense. It is like Stern knew that Nash was coming and the Magic would trade Howard after crumbling.
The Lakers now have Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, and Pau Gasol. They are clear front-runners in the western conference. The one thing the Heat and Thunder don’t necessarily have is a down low presence. While I don’t think it’s a necessity to have a big-time center in the NBA, because nobody does, with the Lakers having Howard, they have a distinct advantage.
One of the concerns is how well these guys play together. While Nash is a great point guard who is awesome at distributing, is Kobe Bryant going to want to cede some possessions to the guard? Bryant is an aging superstar who isn’t capable of what he once was. When I read that Kobe Bryant was on the call to bring Nash to LA, it was a sign to me that he was willing to accept, or better yet recognize, what he brings to the table as a star, and how much Nash could improve the team.
Dwight Howard again continues a long list of great centers in LA. He’s almost a modern day Wilt Chamberlain in the way he has an athletic superiority that isn’t really seen anywhere else in the league. He’s huge both in terms of height and muscle. Wilt Chamberlain, when he was in LA, won a world championship. The Lakers also have a history of pilfering centers from Orlando, as that is how the Lakers got Shaq, a Destroyer of Blazer Worlds.
What upsets me the most though is how the NBA puts in all these rules to help equalize teams. There’s a draft in reverse order (although there’s a lottery) based off last season’s standings and a luxury tax on the salary cap so that teams going over have to spend a s**t-ton of money. It works as a deterrent for over spending of not only rich teams but to keep poor teams from going over. However, the Lakers are looking at spending almost $115 million in luxury tax starting 2014-2015 as a repeat offender. The Yankees work in a system that doesn’t have as much of a luxury tax and are able to keep almost all the money that they make. The Lakers just spending this much money without a clear future in 2014 is either shortsighted or a slap in the face to the league. The Lakers don’t have to worry about money (which I know is hilarious coming from a Blazers fan), but the fact that they also get all these great free agents to come without giving anything away time after time is infuriating.