Now… I know what a lot of you are thinking. That new direction will involve Dwight Howard because everyone is resigned to a story that Dwight will demand a trade this season and he'll only go to LA.
Well… maybe that won't happen.
Jim Buss is running the Lakers now, and this is a frightening proposition for everyone. Bryant doesn’t have a strong sense of Brown, sources with knowledge of his thinking said. He hasn’t offered a blessing or a condemnation. Brown was an Eastern Conference coach. He’s something else too: Jim Buss’ way of pushing far from Phil Jackson, passing over longtime assistant Brian Shaw, and staking claim to his own guy. He’s the insecure and largely incapable son of an iconic owner, the older brother of Jeannie Buss, the far more competent sibling to run the franchise.
Yet, Jerry Buss is turning these Lakers over to Jim, and that’s the reason sources say he conducted the search with his father and general manager Mitch Kupchak assisting him. Now, Jim Buss has two guys in the franchise: Brown and Andrew Bynum. In fact, Buss has made something clear within the Lakers, sources say: Bynum is untouchable in trade talks.
For now, this could include a sign-and-deal for the Orlando Magic’s Dwight Howard. The Lakers are Howard’s preference, but they don’t have salary cap space to sign him. They’ll need a deal that includes Bynum to the Magic, but there are those seriously doubting Jim Buss’ desire to make such a trade. After all, Bynum was Jim Buss’ discovery, his pet project and believes Bynum will ultimately resonate as the son’s personal Lakers legacy.
I'll say this about Bynum… his performance post-All Star Break was really really good. He's a total hothead and injury waiting to happen… but at his best, he's REALLY damn good. I know it's Dwight, but you can't just say "Dwight for Bynum straight up" because the salaries don't match (my mistake they do match under the current rules. But I still contend that Orlando wouldn't do the deal straight up)
Maybe the new CBA rules will change that. For now, though, a deal for Howard would have to include complimentary pieces… and maybe enough of them to hurt the Lakers more than help them.
As far as the Celtics are concerned. If Dwight doesn't get traded and he walks… the C's will be one of the teams with cap space (again… if the CBA doesn't change things) to sign him. Whether he wants to come here is an entirely different debate… but the fact remains that the C's can be players in the 2012 free agent market. If Bynum's really that untouchable… then maybe Dwight will be available next summer.
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