After seemingly years of current Lakers executive Jim Buss stating that the team would be unwilling to trade center Andrew Bynum, it appears that the team has finally taken a more progressive stance.
It is now being reported by CBS’ Ken Berger that the Lakers are apparently willing to deal Bynum ‘for the right price.’ For those that haven’t been following the NBA at all for the last year or so that’s team executive talk for ‘Dwight Howard.’
Howard’s desire to play in Los Angeles may not be immediate, but as time progresses it’s becoming more and more obvious that the Lakers will be major contenders in the sweepstakes to acquire the talented center.
It’s no surprise to anyone that the Lakers will be one of the primary suitors in a possible trade for Howard, and a person with knowledge of the team’s strategy told CBSSports.com that executive Jim Buss finally has dropped his opposition to trading center Andrew Bynum “for the right deal.” That’s code for “a deal for Dwight Howard,” and it’s clear from those familiar with Howard’s thinking that he’d like to join the Lakers. Bynum may or may not be on the Magic’s list of suitable replacements for Howard in a potential deal that also would have to include young players on rookie contracts and draft picks.
While this certainly improves the chances of the Lakers landing Howard through a package built around Bynum, it certainly doesn’t mean a trade between Orlando and Los Angeles is imminent. There are other potential suitors that may be able to build more favorable trades to entice the Magic into giving up their star player.
Another reason the Lakers might not aggressively pursue Howard is their clear need at the point guard position. While Howard is certainly viewed as a more talented player than Bynum, it’s obvious that Bynum’s no slouch when he’s able to stay on the floor. The more pressing issue for the Lakers immediate roster is the point guard position.
With Derek Fisher and Steve Blake running point, the Lakers don’t have a true scoring threat at the position. While the team may have been able to get away with that under Phil Jackson’s triangle offense, with new head coach Mike Brown it’s going to be increasingly difficult to win with those two players directing the on-court traffic.
Since there is an obvious need at another position and the team is currently set at center, we may see the team shift their focus from Howard to one of the talented point guards that are also rumored to be for sale. Two such names that have been thrown around already during this off-season have been New Orleans’ Chris Paul and the Boston Celtics’ Rajon Rondo. In this particular case Paul makes more sense purely because it is unlikely that the Celtics will offer Rondo to their west coast rivals.
Regardless, the openness of Jim Buss to put Bynum on the trading market is a positive sign that could rapidly change the fortunes of the franchise moving forward. With Jim set to take over for his father running the day to day operations of the team, his ability to keep an open mind and consider all possibilities is something that is crucial to the success of the team.
Stubborn owners that are unwilling to accept when they’re wrong do much more harm than good, and it appears that in this case Buss has realized that if he’s able to turn Bynum into Dwight Howard it is certainly worth considering.