Andrew Bynum’s May-through-July hasn’t exactly been a rose-petal covered path to enlightenment. From going out like a punk in the playoffs to getting caught parking in a handicapped spot, Drew has had to deal with his fair share of negative publicity. And it’s that negative publicity that is, in part, fueling trade rumors involving him, Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic.
It is, really, the only Dwight Howard trade that makes sense for the Magic. Bynum, at his best, is the second-best true center in the league. If you’re the Magic and you feel like you absolutely MUST trade Howard, you can look to the Lakers for a really talented kid to take his place while sending Dwight across the country while you’re at it.
It makes sense, if you’re looking to pull the trigger on a deal. But Bynum, for one, hopes the rumors don’t materialize.
Q: How have you endured speculation you’ll be traded, or replaced next year by free agent Dwight Howard?
A: It’s good to know everybody wants me; that means I’ll be in this game for some time. I like L.A., and don’t want to go anywhere else. It’d be good to stay in one place your whole career, and the Lakers are the most storied franchise in the league, everyone knows who the Lakers are, and I appreciate the Lakers’ love.
Celtics fans might have a beef with that “most storied franchise in the league” remark, but the point is well taken. If you’re hoping to win, then the Lakers are a much better choice than Orlando (sorry, Magic fans). And if you’re hoping to become a big, marketable star, then LA is DEFINITELY a better choice than Orlando.
But this may never even become an issue. I’m sure if Orlando felt the need to pull a “Carmelo” and move their superstar player in order to get something in return, they’d go running to Los Angeles first. But LA might not listen. Back in May, it was revealed that new Lakers VP Jim Buss (the same guy who made it his goal to rid the Lakers bench of all Phil Jackson influences) declared Bynum “untouchable” in trade talks. Whether he changes his tune remains to be seen.
Dwight Howard is the better player. There’s no doubt in that. But if you can manage the salaries right, you can get a not-too-far-off level of production from Bynum. What he did after the All Star break this past season was scary. The key, of course, is for him to remain healthy (both physically and mentally). If he can, then there’s no reason to give up a ton for Howard. Let someone else gut their roster to make the splash. For what Orlando is sure to be asking in exchange for Howard, it will probably make more sense just to roll the dice and hope Bynum’s knees and attitude stay where they need to be.