There’s a major roadblock in all of these Dwight Howard trade rumors that’s not being discussed. Aside from the notion that the Lakers might think that Howard will not be that much of an upgrade over Andrew Bynum, neither center has guaranteed that they will sign extensions and this is already a big problem. However, when the Lakers aren’t even allowing other teams to speak to Bynum to negotiate a contract extension, then it’s clear that a trade isn’t going to happen anytime soon.
If the Lakers aren’t letting anyone talk to Bynum, why would other teams like Cleveland or Orlando make a trade for him? There’s a huge risk that if he doesn’t sign an extension, then he’ll walk away during free agency next summer and the team that acquires Bynum during the trade will be left empty handed.
The condition for this trade is that both Bynum and Howard sign extensions for their respective teams. However, Howard has not given any clear indication that he will want to stay with the Lakers. More importantly, the Lakers aren’t making the trade process any easier by refusing to let anyone speak to Bynum.
It’s common sense. Anyone who takes Bynum is going to want him to commit to the team with a long-term extension. But the Lakers aren’t even allowing any contact. How can a trade go through if the Lakers are not facilitating the process of the trade?
The trade isn’t even close to happening and it definitely won’t be a surprise to see Howard start the 2012-13 season in an Orlando Magic uniform.
Also, when looking at the numbers, why would the Lakers even trade for Howard? Does it really make them better?
The Lakers are well aware that Bynum is one of the best centers in the game. Despite his immaturity, Bynum had a career year last season and he’ll only be better next year with newly acquired Steve Nash running the point.
Bynum had career highs in points (18.7), and rebounds (11.8). Sure, Howard’s numbers are better with 20.6 points and 14.5 rebounds per game, but that’s on a team where he received absolutely no help. He’s the main attraction on that team and the Magic relied on him to do everything, from offense to defense.
Meanwhile in Los Angeles, Bynum had to share the ball with Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. There’s no doubt that Bynum’s numbers will spike if he’s the lone offensive source on an NBA team.
Howard and Bynum both shot the ball around 13 times per game this season. However, Howard went to the line twice as many times. This means that he still probably had the ball more often in his hands than Bynum did, but he would just get fouled more often. If Bynum had the ball as much as Howard did, he’d be shooting the ball more because teams aren’t going to foul a 70 percent free throw shooter. Howard, on the other hand, only made 49 percent of his free throws.
On the glass, Howard had a higher rebounding percentage. He grabbed 33 percent of all defensive rebounds available. However, Bynum grabbed 26 percent of all defensive rebounds available while competing with another seven-footer on his team in Gasol.
The fact of the matter is, when a player is surrounded by other elite teammates, his numbers are naturally going to decline because he has to share the workload.
If Howard joins the Lakers, his numbers will also decrease because Kobe, Pau, and now Nash will all be shooting the ball.
Howard is now going to be a part of a team. In Orlando, he was the team.
The Lakers know this and perhaps that’s why they’re being overly cautious in these trade negotiations.