He also is (a) incapable of making an elbow jumper, (b) unreliable at the free-throw line, (c) susceptible to long-term injury, (d) hypersensitive to criticism from teammates and coaches, (e) more interested in becoming the next Bill Murray rather than the next Bill Russell and (f) wondering why no one has handed him the icon status he desperately craves.
But the worst thing Howard is – and unlike the items above, this is a temporary condition – is a square peg in a round hole.
The Lakers, who don’t do future very well, mortgaged a considerable part of it to bring Howard to Los Angeles. Already marginalized by playing alongside three stars who require the ball in Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Steve Nash, Howard’s potential impact was further diminished when the Lakers fired Mike Brown and hired Mike D’Antoni, who wants his players to play at pace, face the basket, shoot 3-pointers and not worry so much about defense.
This is an awful fit for Howard’s skill set. But the Lakers already are paying Brown not to coach for the next two-plus years. Paying D’Antoni not to coach for the next three-plus years – and finding another who caters to Howard – seems like a bit much even for an outfit that treats the luxury tax the way Puerto Rico drivers treat stop signs.
And this is why the Lakers should trade Dwight Howard.
What exactly are the Lakers playing for this season? They would have to go 20-8 down the stretch just to get to 45 wins, which is probably the magic number for a playoff berth in the West. And they would have to do it without much help from Gasol, who is out until April.
Further, the Lakers are a collective 1-9 vs. San Antonio, Oklahoma City, the rival Clippers and Memphis, the top four teams in the West.
It’s been a long time since the Lakers were sellers at the trading deadline. They dealt for Jordan Hill and Ramon Sessions a year ago, Shannon Brown in 2009 and Gasol in 2008.
But sellers they should be, and not just because Bryant doesn’t seem to care if Howard stays or goes.
It just makes sense, as do two other deadline deals that we are hereby suggesting.
1. Lakers trade Dwight Howard to Mavericks for Dirk Nowitzki
About five minutes after taking the Lakers job, D’Antoni was lamenting the lack of a floor-spreading stretch 4 that makes his offense work better. The best shooting big man in NBA history fits the bill pretty well, for a number of reasons.