Lakers vs. Nets: Who needs to Trade for Dwight more?
Tick-tock. Tick-tock. The trade deadline is days away, and it seems like just yesterday we were talking about how Dwight had all this time to decide where he wants to be playing basketball for the next few years. Well…time is virtually up for the Orlando (for now) superstar, and it seems like there are two finalists for his services aside from Orlando. Those two destinations are the L.A Lakers and
Brooklyn New Jersey Nets. This begs the question, who needs him more? Well, that’s why I’m here. Let’s break it down.
The Case for the Lakers
There really is nothing more true than the sports cliche that winning cures all; It also gives people amnesia. The Lakers have been on a tear lately, and with that tear has come the fact that people forget just how flawed this roster truly is. The Lakers are stuck right where the Atlanta Hawks have been for years in the East. As constituted, they are a playoff team, but not a true threat to the true powers of the league. That’s…a big problem, especially if you have an aging superstar on your roster who really isn’t interested in making the playoffs, he is interested in winning a ring.
I have said this over and over again, Andrew Bynum is like a stock. Right now, he is sky-high, and people have forgotten that he is truly the meaning of a ticking time bomb. ATTENTION LA: SELL. HIGH. Like any stock, Bynum is going to plummet, and it’s going to be sooner rather than later. If they could manage to talk Orlando into a trade centered around a Bynum/Howard swap, the only personnel mistake that would top it in our generation would be Oden over Durant. It would be that monumental of a steal, and it’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility at this point. If L.A were to convince Orlando to take something like this (add in a draft pick or two), they would become an instant contender to win the championship for the next three years.
How simple would it be to get veterans to sign for the minimum to play with Kobe/Gasol/Dwight to chase a ring? Do I think this is a fair trade, not at all! (as if ‘biggest personnel mistake beside Oden over Durant’ didn’t give that away) but desperate people do desperate things, and Otis Smith may be a desperate man come March 15th at 3PM. It is pretty tough to negotiate when the other side is holding all the cards, and with Brook Lopez sidelined for another three weeks with a severely sprained right ankle (the same side on the foot he JUST came back from breaking), LA knows they are virtually Orlando’s only realistic trade partner.
LA needs to make a move for Dwight, now. They have no chance of grabbing him otherwise, and they could make the price low enough to ultimately benefit from it more than any other team in the league would.
The Case for the Nets
Remember the whole winning cures all cliche? Well, the Nets wouldn’t know anything about that because they haven’t played a meaningful game since Jason Kidd was the point guard. With their inevitable move to Brooklyn rapidly approaching, they desperately need to make a splash between now and then. They stole Deron Williams at the trade deadline last year, and are hoping to duplicate that magic with Orlando this year. (See what I did there? Magic with Orlando? I digress.)
It’s been widely reported that if the Nets don’t land Dwight, then Deron will skip town as well, and that’s their biggest motivation for trying to swoop in and grab Howard. The Nets gave up essentially every asset they had not named Brook Lopez to acquire Deron, and for that to be for a extended rental would be crippling to the franchise. Without Dwight and Deron, the only thing the Nets will accomplish next year in Brooklyn is surpassing their miserable 12-70 season from a couple of years back.
Trust me, as a Brooklyn native, that won’t work out well for either the fans or the team. You see, us Brooklynites aren’t exactly known for our patience, and understanding. It wouldn’t take long for home games to seem like road games. Especially for a franchise that is looking to steal some of the spotlight (and fanbase) from the cross-town rival Knicks, the Nets can’t really afford to not get Dwight, and lose Deron in the process.
Here’s the catch-22. With the aforementioned Lopez injury, they really have nothing to trade for Dwight. Unfortunately the NBA limits the amount of money that you can place in a trade, otherwise Prokhorov may have put the offer of Johan Petro, Sundiata Gaines, and $10 billion dollars on the table.
The Nets must get Dwight, or their franchise will be set back for the foreseeable future.
There’s a two part verdict on this one. Remember in school when the teacher always used to tell you to make sure you read the question before you answer? This is one of those scenarios.
The Lakers need to TRADE for Dwight more, but the Nets NEED Howard more than the Lakers do.
The only way Dwight is getting to LA is via a trade, but that is not the case for he and the Nets. The Lakers are doomed if they don’t trade for Howard in the next nine days, where as the Nets have a 50/50 chance to be doomed.
Assuming Howard is leaving Orlando, the only threat to the Nets to nab Howard is the Mavericks, which also happens to be their biggest threat to snatch Deron as well. Otherwise, not trading for Dwight could be the best case scenario for New Jersey. Lopez is a restricted free agent this summer, so the Nets could conceivably sign Howard, and re-sign Deron and Lopez since they will be allowed to go over the cap to do so. Obviously the chance that both Deron and Dwight may head to Texas is enough to force a trade if Orlando is willing to do so, but it isn’t catastrophic for the Nets if they don’t acquire Dwight by the deadline.
For the Lakers, this is a one-time opportunity to make their team a contender again. Otherwise, they will be stuck with an aging Kobe, an unhappy Gasol, and a ticking Bynum.
Tick-tock. Tick-tock. Make the call LA.