Seriously, Bill? How can such an astute NBA observer be so completely blinded by homerism?
The Unexpected Winner Of The Dwight Howard Trade
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In the aftermath of his demand to be traded and trying to get his coach fired in 2012, Dwight Howard exposed himself as a guy who didn’t have the right stuff to go to the next level. He never recovered to his previous level after his back injury that season. So he doesn’t belong in the group of eight (the KG heist in 2007 brought the Celtics a championship, as did the Shaq trade in 2004, so it’s pretty obvious those players were still superstars).
But you don’t choose to see it because the Howard trade helped ruin the Lakers, who gave up an All-Star center and two 1st round draft picks to get one year of a semi-injured bowl of emotional jello, plus two backups that didn’t last in the NBA beyond 2013.
Just a little reminder that the 2011–2012 Lakers, with Kobe, Bynum, Gasol, Barnes and World Peace still won their division over their Clipper counterparts with CP3, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.
That season, Bynum had a career best season of 18.7 pts -11.8 reb-1.9 blk, started the 2012 All-Star game and was at least a top 20 player. At that point, they could have traded Bynum for Igoudala straight up. Just for context, he was having a better year than Marc Gasol, Chris Bosh, Brook Lopez, Al Jefferson, Al Horford, Marcin Gortat, etc.
Or, they could have gotten Philadelphia’s 1st round pick, and picked up Michael Carter Williams, the perfect point complement for Kobe — a pass first, big guard who could run the break and play defense. Or, if they were lucky, the Greek Freak and Rudy Gobert were still available. (Of course, with the Lakers’ horrible front office, it could have been worse. That year, they picked the only Duke player who became a starter for this year’s Maine Red Claws in Ryan Kelly.)
Even keeping Bynum and then having him self destruct would have been a better move, as it would have saved the draft picks and cap space, with Kobe still a top 5 player, and Pau playing near All-Star level. They could have afforded to keep a couple of solid role players in Matt Barnes and Ramon Sessions, while looking for another free agent.
The Howard trade was a disaster for the Lakers, as was the D’Antoni hire, and it was all compounded the Steve Nash train wreck, the worst trade in Laker history.