Tag Archives: Dwight Howard

The 2013 Lakers: Locked & Reloaded

What an off season it has been for the Lakers. Plenty of opinions and analysis with Twitter lighting it up. In the final wash, over the past 12 months, the Lakers have basically given up Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom, Derek Fisher, Luke Walton and some low first round draft picks and turned it into Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, Jordan Hill; and added some nice free agents in Jodie Meeks and Antawn Jamison. Wow. You think Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss don’t know what they are doing now? Expectations abound and opinions are divided about how it will all work; remember the summer of ’03 when Payton and Malone joined Kobe and Shaq – that didn’t work out too well.  Here’s a few articles to make your mouth water:

LA Times – TJ Simers: “Jim Buss gets the last laugh” – With Dwight Howard following Steve Nash to the Lakers, Buss makes his father proud.

ESPN LA – Arash Markazi: “Dwight Howard headed to Lakers” – Dwight Howard is happy to be a Laker, and his arrival punctuates Mitch Kupchak’s summer.

ESPN – Michael Wilbon: “Dwight Howard lucky to be a Laker” – Showtime returns to LA. Above all else, the Lakers know NBA titles are delivered by the men in the middle.

CBS Sports – Ken Berger: “Joining Kobe, Nash, Gasol in L.A., time for Howard to act like a champion” – Is Dwight Howard ready to stop playing around? Is he ready to play? Ready to take the torch from Kareem and, yes, Shaquille O’Neal, and help Kobe win his sixth NBA title? 

Hoopsworld – Eric Pincus: “Kupchak on Howard: We got the best” – The home runs have been hit for the summer.

And check out some of these photo spoofs from Laker fans all around the world!

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State of the Nation. The Lakers Nation that is…

lakers-lineup

Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Nearly a quarter of the way through the condensed NBA season and where are the Lakers at? From the failed attempts to trade for Chris Paul (twice!!), to the sudden exit of Lamar, and then to Kobe going on a scoring outburst, one thing hasn’t changed….the Lakers never fail to get media scrutiny. With a 10-8 record (as of 24th Jan) many subplots exist as The Lakers try to live up to the lofty expectations we fans place on the team. Winning cures everything and it’s amazing how the Laker community goes from one extreme to another. A Derek Fisher game winner is polarized by a 3 game losing streak. (At least we can still enjoy the sight of this video)

From a “fantastic game by player x” to “Lakers need to trade everyone” it’s amazing how passionate Laker fans are. Just check out the forums at LakerGround.net and you will see why!

A few topics to chew the fat on:

New coach, New system
Yes we all hoped it would only take a few games and all would be fine. But realistically, the Lakers are trying to unlearn the triangle and pick up a new system. So it’s not surprising that the Laker offense is sputtering like an old car needing a tune up and oil check! It hasn’t been pretty. No fluidity and whilst Kobe going off for 40 points is great to see, it’s simply not sustainable in the long run. Gasol and Bynum need to learn to play together and the bench players need to work out their roles. Yes the Lakers are still searching for their identity.

Roster balance…the Point Guards
I admire Derek Fisher. What he’s done in the past is amazing. And he still manages to pop up and make the plays in crucial situations. See game v Dallas. His leadership qualities and presence are second to none but Fisher isn’t a penetrator who can get in the lane and create for others, and he has trouble staying in front of quick guards. Steve Blake was doing a better job before he got injured but like Fish he is a spot up shooter and not a creator. I do like rookie Darius Morris and its great he’s getting minutes, but he just needs time to develop. Cant fault his confidence though. Many say if he had stayed in college one more year, he would have been a lottery pick. Here’s hopeing he turns out to be a great Laker!

“I don’t know if he’s prepared, but he’s confident,” said Brown.  “He told my lead assistant John Kuester . . . he looked him in his eye and said ‘Kue, I can play.’  He was almost like, ‘Let me remind you guys, I can play the game.’”

So the issue is apart from Kobe there isn’t anybody else who can break down the opposition and either finish or create for others. Losing Lamar meant losing a creator and someone who can set up the big guys in the post. I do think these are the reasons for the inconsistency with Gasol and Bynum. But realistically who can they get that will help without compromising assets as they pursue Dwight Howard and/or Deron Williams?

Trade Rumours
If Chris Paul were a Laker, you can bet your bottom dollar Dwight would be pushing to come. But this is no longer and there’s been endless chatter about what Bynum/Gasol/$8.5 mill trade exception/draft picks can bring the Lakers. It’s a waiting game at the moment, as the first chip in Howard needs to fall before the ripple effect occurs. That’s why, amidst all the trade rumours, Mitch Kupchak has held on to his assets waiting patiently on Howard. Sure he could make some small trades to help plug some holes (OJ Mayo, Devin Harris, Ramon Sessions & Andre Miller come to mind), but getting the next superstar to play alongside Kobe and carry the torch is the objective. It would be heaven if the Lakers could get Howard and Williams but patience is the key.

Amongst all of the issues, Laker fans will just have to be patient.


Lakers Forever

Oh my…if this isn’t enough to get the juices flowing I don’t know what is!


The NBA is baaaaack!

And we finally have an NBA season. Thank God. You can only watch so much NBL, and whilst I love the Sydney Kings, nothing beats the thrill and excitement of the Lakers. And it all starts on Xmas day with the Lakers taking on the Bulls.

It’s going to be an interesting year for the Lakers. Some experts are saying the Lakers can make one last gasp run whilst Kobe is still in his prime, whilst others are saying that the Lakers need to plan for the future with the changes to the luxury tax only 2 years away and a huge tax bill looming.

If $70 million is the cap before luxury taxes hit, GM Mitch Kupchak has a lot of work to do in managing the Laker’s payroll and attract quality players over the next few years. Check out HoopsHype.com for a breakdown of the Laker’s salary situation. At $91 million for the 2011-12 season, that’s about $20 million in taxes that Lakers are up for this year – and that’s with no new rookies or free agents signed. When the new luxury tax scale comes in for 2013-14, the tax bill gets hefty. According to Larry Coon:

“the Lakers’ tax bill in 2011 (when the tax was dollar-for-dollar) was about $19.9 million. Under the new system, being that far over the tax line would cost them $44.68 million. If they were a repeat offender (paying tax at least four of the previous five years) they would owe $64.58 million!”

That’s a LOT of tax to be paying! But with the Lakers new local TV deal with TNT, starting in 2012-13, worth $200 million a year ($5 billion over 25 years), maybe the Buss family won’t be too worried about the tax.

The biggest elephant in the room as we start the 2011-12 season is what happens with Dwight Howard. Will he command a trade to the bright lights and big city of LA, following in the steps of Shaquille O’Neal15 years ago? Regardless of what team he wants to be traded to, a trade is bound to happen. As Chris Sheridan of SheridanHoops.com points out, there are $30 million reasons why Howard will be pushing for it to happen sooner rather than later!

Now wouldn’t it be good if this came true? =)

The Lakers would be set for the future and continue on their tradition of dominating Centers. No doubt they would have to give up a lot to get Howard including some combination of Bynum/Odom/Gasol plus maybe even take back a bad contract like Turkoglu. Short term pain but you have someone that can play with Kobe and carry the torch when Kobe leaves the game. Whatever happens, it makes for some exciting viewing over the next few months! NBA…Where Amazing Happens…