Kobe: "What? You think you can whine and pout your way into getting the ball from me? Silly center."
This Dwight Howard drama (a.k.a. Dwightmare) may finally be coming to a close, and it has a very eerie feeling about it to me. First the news:
Magic center Dwight Howard signaled that if he is traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, he would be prepared to sign a long-term extension after the 2012-13 NBA season, the basketball website RealGM.com reported on Wednesday. Two sources confirmed to ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard that Howard is willing to re-sign long-term with the Lakers if Orlando trades him there. Until recently, Howard had been steadfast in his desire to commit only to the Brooklyn Nets long-term.
The Lakers have always had the best single trade chip to dangle in Andrew Bynum and regardless if he goes to the Magic, Cavs, Rockets, or wherever, he's likely going to be dealt to make this whole thing happen. Things could change at the last minute and maybe the Rockets could still pull out a deal without caring if Dwight agreed to an extension, but it sure feels like Howard is bound for L.A.
I can't help but think this all feels very familiar. Think about it. A defensive minded superstar big man was unwilling to sign an extension if traded to a storied franchise but changed his tune in part because that team first picked up a future Hall of Fame guard. Yes, I'm talking about how our Big 3 came together back in 2007.
I can draw further comparisons as well. Kobe Bryant is the whole-career-in-one-place face of the franchise that Paul Pierce is and was (though I can't imagine Bryant embracing Ubuntu in quite the same fashion). Bynum is the off and on injured big man with great promise and trade value (though further along in his development than Al Jefferson was at the time).
Another interesting sidebar: Everyone was fine with Garnett asking out of Minny because he stuck with them long past when most others would have. But he kind of started something there (unless I'm forgetting earlier instances). He dictated where he was going to go by wielding the "I won't sign an extension" threat. That strategy was used by Carmelo Anthony and now Dwight Howard and will likely be used again.
Obviously the comparisons only go so far and at the end of the day the deal (if it happens) stands on it's own. I just find the comparisons interesting. Hopefully the whole deal falls apart and Howard is left to languish in Orlando another 6 months (though that would subject Magic fans to undue pain and the rest of us to endless continuing rumors). If the deal does go through, I'm just hoping that Kendrick Perkins can stay healthy and do his job well enough to get OKC past the Lakers again.
Regardless, I suppose we have to wait and see if this actually goes down before we overreact. (Yeah, like that's going to happen) Never mind, go ahead and react below.