Somebody told me Dwight Howard is a Laker. I say no way, how'd that happen? As someone who feels slightly lightheaded every time someone mentions "basketball reasons", I'm a Laker fan who will be forever scarred by the CP3 non trade. Life goes on, and begrudgingly I have. My Laker love has always been about the name on the front of the jersey instead of name(s) on the back. This Dwight Howard trade comes along and I should join my fellow Lakers fans in counting the titles and talk how Howard will join Mikan, Wilt, Kareem, and Shaq as Laker big man immortals who have since retired. In Shaq's case, soon to be retired jersey and several titles. However, this dosen't feel like '96 when Shaq joined LA. Then, it was a mere "how many" titles when he joined a young Kobe Bryant. When the news of this trade went down I responded with "ok". I must admit that 65% of this was total tired head on this whole "wheres Dwight gonna land?" saga that in all purposes hasn't really over. Before I count titles, raise jerseys, and continue my subversive torment of Mav fans, I need to know some things.
1) What athlete has SUCCESSFULLY returned from back surgery and maintained a high level of performance? First two names I conjured up; Joe Montana and Larry Bird. While Howard hasn't even scratch the accomplishments of those guys, he is still a big time player and in today's NBA a definite superstar. Montana and Bird were never the same post surgery. Howard's potential saving grace? He's 26 years old with no injury history and is in phenomenal shape. Nevertheless, a back is a back, and surgery is surgery. Medical technology will also play in his favor.
2) The No Extension (Yet)
Howard has stated that he'd like to experience free agency in the Summer of 2013, although its more than likely he will return to LA. I have reason to lean towards a return for D12, but until the contract is signed ill be on alert. I mean Jordan said he was 99.9% retired, and that was BEFORE the first retirement. We all like to be wooed and this may be Howard's only time in the free agent world so I can understand if he wants to go through that. The Lakers have the most to offer money and year wise and I trust Laker brass did their due diligence in this trade. But if he walks....to the God forsaken Mavs no less.....stop it right there Gumbel.
3) Dwight Howard Title Maker?
Despite leading his team to the 2009 Finals, there are those who believe that a healthy KG would've been the difference in the Eastern Conference Finals. This isn't an overreaction to his presser this week but if D12 serious about this ring life, will Kobe/Nash/Gasol's leadership and veteran know how be enough to ride the big man to a title?
These questions will be resolved once Howard suits up in a Laker Uniform. As great an addition as he is, my last question is the 64 million dollar one. Can he guard LeBron?
Born in Dayton, Ohio but raised in Dallas. D.A. is no pushover