Tag: Howard to Lakers

Andrew Bynum

Bynum gets fresh chance to show maturity, be a leader


It was more than just Andrew Bynum’s play compared to Dwight Howard’s that had the Lakers working hard to put together a blockbuster four-team trade that sent Bynum to Philadelphia and brought Howard to L.A.

It also was about whether the Lakers thought Bynum could be the face of the franchise after Kobe Bryant retires in a few years. It was about his maturity.

The Lakers were not sold, at least not as much as they were on Howard. But Bynum has a chance to get the 76ers to buy in and prove the Lakers sold him short. But to do that he has to show his maturity — and he’s going to have to re-sign next summer and stay. (Financially it is better for him to become a free agent and re-sign than it is to sign an extension.)

For years Bynum has wanted a bigger part of the Lakers offense and to be more of a focal point of the team — he’s going to get that now. He’ll get all the attention he’ll want from the media, fans and opposing defenses. But it comes in a city that will expect nightly effort and not the moments of immaturity that had the Lakers balking.

Moments like flattening J.J. Barea at the end of a playoff game for no good reason. Or firing up a three pointer, then when coach Mike Brown called him out on it saying he’d do it again. Or the poor outings, the nights of disinterest, including in the playoffs. Or a nonchalant attitude after those poor outings.

To be fair, Bynum has matured a lot, on and off the court. As a rookie he was so raw he took a hook shot off the wrong foot at Summer League. That first year he used to leave practice, swing by McDonald’s on the way home, stock up then go sit on his couch and play video games.

Over the years Bynum worked hard on his physique and he matured. He’s now a good offensive center with a variety of post moves. He’s in great condition and added a lot of muscle, making him a beast on the block. And he has worked hard to come back from his knee surgeries stronger.

But there were still the moments of immaturity that gave the Lakers pause.

All that has to be in the past now. The good and the bad. Tabula rasa. Bynum is getting a new chance in Philly — with fans ready and willing to embrace him so long as he brings the effort every night. So long as he steps up as a real leader on the court. As long as he has matured enough to step into this moment. The Sixers are going to be top-half of the East good and with a young core that should get better. It is a big stage.

He’s got a real chance, he’s now getting what he has wanted. It’s up to him to seize it.

Why the bottleneck on NBA trades? Calendar and Howard.

Dwight Howard

We’re a couple months into the NBA season, and there have been very few trades.

Before the season we had some biggies — Chris Paul to the Lakers, er, Clippers — but once the season started, that has dried up.

And you can expect things to stay pretty much dry past the All-Star game at the end of the month. Why? A couple reasons, neither of which will be resolved by then.

We’ll let Marc Stein at ESPN explain the first.

In a normal NBA season, free agents who ink contracts in the offseason can’t be traded for three months from the date they signed or Dec. 15, whichever falls later. The rule, though, had to be amended because of the lockout, which pushed free agency back to Dec. 9 for the 2011-12 season.

Free agents who signed contracts for this lockout-shortened campaign thus can’t be traded for two months from the signing date or March 1, whichever falls later. In 20 days, then, every team in the league will have more contracts to plug into deals to satisfy salary-cap requirements, which could serve as a useful impetus to help trigger activity before the March 15 trading deadline.

Put simply, the Nets would love to make a big move but can’t trade Kris Humphries, DeShawn Stevenson, Shawne Williams or Shelden Williams before March 1.

The other issue, as we have discussed here before at PBT (and Stein mentions as well) is the Dwight Howard situation. As happened with Carmelo Anthony and other big deals in the past, sometime smaller trades get bottlenecked behind a big one as teams hold on to their cards seeing if they can get in the game. To use an example, again with New Jersey, if the Magic were to suddenly trade Howard to the Lakers (not likely but possible) then the Nets would have a lot of players they could move and likely would shop Deron Williams around.

But until the Magic make a move, the Nets and a lot of GMs will keep their powder dry. And the Magic aren’t making any move before the All-Star weekend.

So, we wait. There may be a small deal or two, but don’t expect much.

Kobe denies report of poor recruiting call with Howard

Kobe Bryant Dwight Howard

We passed along the report over the weekend, one that cropped up in a couple places, that a conversation where Kobe Bryant tried to recruit Dwight Howard to Los Angeles turned off the center. That Kobe told Howard that the offensive options would be first Kobe, then Pau Gasol, then Howard. Which struck me as something Kobe is too savvy to say in recruiting a guy, but that was the rumor.

Peter Vecsey of the New York Post asked Kobe about it. And as you knew would happen, Kobe shot it down.

“omg! I’m not getting mixed up in this kiddy drama spit, bro. too old for that spit,” Bryant responded via email.

“How do you think I feel at my age having to chase down this stuff,” I answered. “I understand your position. But if it’s untrue, any of it, and allowed to circulate throughout the league, which already is happening, I would think you’d want to say it’s not.”

“It’s not true,” Kobe responded.

First off, you know Kobe didn’t use the word “spit.” Rhymes with “spit” but that’s not the word of choice.

Second, of course Kobe said this. Who knows what was actually said in a Kobe/Howard conversation, but what is Kobe going to say now? “Yes, I tried to scare him off.” Of course not.

Third, know that every rumor you hear about Howard is someone trying to spin the situation the direction they want it to go. This rumor had New Jersey as where Howard really wants to go, even though other rumors have said that the Nets had fallen because the team sucks this season and Howard doesn’t want to miss the playoffs (and even if he went there a lot of building is left to do). Everyone is trying to spin the story (and Howard) to where they want him to land.

The truth of the Dwight Howard situation is more about practicality and feasibility. The Magic may eventually come to their senses and decide to move him, but when they do it will be to the team that gives them the best offer. It will be about who takes on Hedo Turkoglu’s deal, too. If Orlando likes Andrew Bynum and assorted goods better than Brook Lopez and slightly better assorted goods, he’s going to Los Angeles. And Howard is going to suddenly sing the praises of wherever he gets sent.

Dwight Howard situation could hold up Sessions to Lakers

Kobe Bryant Dwight Howard

Much like happens any time there is a big trade looming out there, other moves get bottlenecked up behind it.

Case in point — the Lakers need a point guard and have interest in Ramon Sessions, who would be a good fit and be better than anyone they have on the roster. But here comes this note from Marc Stein of ESPN.

The Lakers are indeed on the long list of teams interested in Cavs point guard Ramon Sessions, but sources say that Cleveland would expect at least one first-round draft pick from L.A. in exchange. Although the Lakers have their own first-round pick and Dallas’ first-rounder in 2012, it’s believed that L.A. prefers to hold off on using either of those picks or its $8.9 million trade exception (created by the deal that sent Lamar Odom to the Mavs) until Dwight Howard’s situation plays out in Orlando. Meaning that the Lakers don’t want to burn one (or more) of their limited trade assets and then find out that Orlando is suddenly ready to deal Dwight before the March 15 trading deadline …

The Cavaliers are going to have a lot of options if and when they decide to deal sessions, but the Lakers might be willing to give up more than most. But not right now. It’s going to be that way with a lot of trade talks right now, Dwight Howard (and potentially Deron Williams after that) could hold smaller deals up.

Once the Howard situation is resolved one way or another, a lot of other things may fall into place quickly around the league.

Magic GM: Dwight Howard’s trade list remains unchanged

Dwight Howard

There are no Chicago Bulls on the list. No Los Angeles Clippers, no Boston Celtics or Golden State Warriors.

While other teams keep trying to fill the Dwight Howard trade rumor void, Howard’s original list has not changed, Orlando GM Otis Smith told the Sun Sentinel.

Magic General Manager Otis Smith told the Orlando Sentinel that Howard’s camp has not indicated to the Magic that the superstar center has expanded his list of preferred trade destinations beyond his original three teams: the New Jersey Nets, the Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks.

Sure, Howard and Derrick Rose have a little mutual admiration society going. Doesn’t matter. If Howard would not agree to sign a long-term deal with the Bulls they are not about to trade away all the assets needed to acquire the best center in the game. (They might not anyway, the Bulls are contenders now and if they give up too much they could take a step back even with Howard on the roster.)

There is a Howard trade rumor void because the Magic are not looking to move him right now, they are trying to convince him to stay. Which seemed a lot easier a couple of weeks ago when the Magic were playing well. But Orlando has lost four in a row and is playing without energy or execution. Normally this is where a team leader like Howard steps up and holds teammates accountable, but is anyone going to listen to a guy with one foot out the door?

Howard can opt out of his contract at the end of the season and become an unrestricted free agent.