Does this story sound familiar? Dwight Howard is in his last year of his contract and has the option to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers or test the free agent market in the summer. If this seems like deja vu, it’s probably because he was in the same situation with the Orlando Magic last year at this time when he made the bonehead decision of the year by opting back into his contract with Orlando, and postponing his chance to hit the free agent market last summer.
This year the Los Angeles Lakers find themselves trying to keep Dwight. The Lakers have had one of their worst seasons in franchise history. It has been a combination of bad coaching and a lack of effort contributing to the team’s lack of success. Dwight Howard doesn’t seem to be able to mesh with Kobe Bryant and the Lakers in this Mike D’Antoni offense.
Mitch Kupchak, GM for the Lakers, has a dilemma on his hands. Wait for the end of the year and hope Dwight Howard signs a max deal allowing you to have a young player to build your franchise around after Kobe Bryant leaves, or trade him to guarantee that you do not lose him for nothing.
It is time for Mitch Kupchak to play a little game called chicken. We learned this as a little kid, when two objects come together on a head on collision and one object moves at the last minute. Well, Mitch Kupchak needs to enter the Laker locker room and tell Mr. Howard that I have a max deal in my hand that guarantees that you get paid about 30 million more than you can receive from any other team and you either need to sign it, or you will be tipping the jump ball in another city tomorrow. If he decides not to sign it, in the words of Nino Brown, “You cancel him, and buy another one”. It is not like the Lakers are winning with him now.
As GM of the Lakers, I’m calling New Jersey, Houston, or even Miami. Yeah, I said Miami. Dwight Howard for Chris Bosh would make both teams better. Dwight would give Miami the inside defensive presence they need, and Bosh would compliment Gasol a lot better than Dwight since they can both play inside and outside the paint. As the Laker GM, you have to get something. I don’t care if you trade him to Houston for Omar Asik, some young players, and a bag of Tropical Skittles, at least you are not left looking like a man after a wet dream with nothing to show for it but sticky memories.
So Dwight, the decision is yours, make a whole lot of money with a franchise that you know will always be dedicated to winning or go back to the days of Orlando where you are the man, but can’t get anyone to come play with you.