Would Lakers’ GM Mitch Kupchak take such an offer?
It wouldn’t be a poor move on his part, but such a deal could not be consummated until Lopez’ contract dictates so—Jan. 15. It’s the result of his four-year extension, one which drew criticism around the league as many believed Lopez wasn’t worthy of $61 million over the four seasons.
How would Lopez fit in with the Lakers?
Lopez, like Howard, has drawn the “soft” label throughout his career, especially in recent years due to his reluctance to rebound the basketball. Last year, Lopez played just five games due to injury, but in his last full season he averaged just six rebounds a game, despite his 7-foot stature. He’s been known to be reluctant to mix it up inside, deferring to teammate Kris Humphries to do all of the dirty work.
Something tells me that Kobe’s qualms with Howard would just find new residence in Lopez, as Howard’s play, however soft it may be, is still much more aggressive than Lopez’s.
Meanwhile, Howard would likely flourish in Brooklyn, and he would give the Nets an inside-out tandem with Deron Williams that would propel the Nets into the favorites’ discussion in the Eastern Conference.
Williams has struggled with his shot this season, shooting just 40.3 percent from the floor and 31.6 percent from three-point range. But with Howard on the court demanding double teams, Williams would get higher quality shots.
The effect of Howard on not only Williams, but also on struggling two-guard Joe Johnson would vastly improve the Nets, who have won three straight and begun to play better under the headship of interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo.
Though the Nets are 19-15, acquiring Howard would likely propel them to the top of the Eastern Conference, or at least just behind LeBron James and the Miami Heat.
They could, in fact, be the best team in the Big Apple with Howard.
And that has to excite Nets fans, and possibly even steal some of the Knicks bandwagoners.
The trade talks haven’t even begun to be initiated, but the feud between Howard and the Mamba makes it likely that talks will heat up, and something could even happen before the Feb. 21 trade deadline, as Kupchak would be wise to obtain something for Howard with the realization that it’s quite likely he doesn’t return to the Lakers next season.