We're only several weeks away from the NBA Finals, which means we're only a little more than several weeks away from all the attention in the NBA media going to whether or not Dwight Howard is going to stay with the Lakers. Why is this going to be the primary topic of conversation you say? Because the Lakers are in the club.
Please allow a short digression:
Dwayne and I always discuss "The Club" in sports. Teams in New York, Boston, and L.A. are the biggest culprits of this, but the general rule is that a team who has a history of success and/or is in a big market will always get the press. This is the reason why people still considered Andre Johnson a young, up-and-comer during his 6th season in the league and the reason why The past decade of the NBA will be remembered for Kobe more than Tim Duncan. Unless you've got a superstar (Lebron for example), your team won't be discussed nearly as in depth as a team that's in "The Club."
This isn't to say we at 2 Guys have anything against teams that are in "The Club," just that we like to look out for the little guy now and again. This is part of the reason we do in depth analysis on a division-by-division basis and why we occasionally talk about punters. Dwayne and I like the Knicks, but we also like the Bobcats. We enjoy discussing the dumpster fire that is the Jets, but we like to check in on the Titans once in awhile too.
Now that I've addressed the Lakers as a member of "The Club," please allow me to end my digression and talk about the Lakers... my hypocrisy is apparently boundless.
Anyhow, Dwight Howard is a free agent and everyone talks about how he should be a Laker. The more I look at this situation, the more I realize there are exactly three reasons for Dwight to stay in L.A.
1. L.A. is a big market city with nice weather
2. L.A. has a rich history of centers (which for some reason matters to some people)
3. The Lakers can give him the most money
These are some valid reasons. However, you look at the reasons not to stay and it gets a little murkier.
1. The Lakers best player is now injured and may not be back next season... oh and he's an old 35 and is making so much money the Lakers have no chance of bringing in anyone else this year.
2. The Lakers have zero supporting cast outside of an injured Kobe, a declining Pau Gasol, and a suddenly very old Steve Nash. That's it. Earl Clark and Steve Blake don't count, neither does Metta World Peace anymore.
3. Mike D'Antoni is not the right coach for the best Center in the league, which Dwight still is, despite what some say.
Gets a little tougher right? So what's Dwight going to do? Carry the team next year and hope Kobe makes it back for the playoffs and took some of the same youth elixir that the Spurs have been giving Tim Duncan for the past few years? Please.
Howard can go to another team, still get a max deal (though he leaves 30 million on the table) and go to a team like Houston, Dallas, the Clippers, or literally anywhere else that isn't so cap strapped and depressing. Hell, go to the Suns! Everyone's healthy and it's always sunny. How about a small market? The Blazers could use you (Brandon dreams a little... a little more... okay, he wakes up). Seriously though, Dwight, you would be a God in Denver. Portland, Golden State, Atlanta, New Orleans, and a host of other teams would love to have you and would be monumentally better basketball fits. And it's been done before, so you wouldn't be alone. If Mario Williams can sign in Buffalo where it's negative fucking degrees most months out of the year, you can stomach a market like New Orleans where they have kick ass music and Creole.
But small market aside, does it seem like Dwight is happy in L.A.? I would argue Dwight hasn't seemed happy since he almost beat the Lakers in the finals with Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis pretending to be good. A max deal is still a ton of money, and they have sunshine in other areas of the country with less L.A. and less Kardashians. Is sunshine, big market, and a super duper max contract worth another season on this Lakers team? I really don't think so, and I can't think of any reason why Dwight would or should stay.
Now, Lakers fans might get upset with me, but unless you amnesty Kobe (and he deserves better than that anyway), your team is a mess right now. Trade Pau, amnesty Metta World Peace, let Nash retire if he wants to, let Dwight walk, and try to get under the cap and accrue some talent. Rebuild. It's not like there won't be another star waiting to come to L.A. in a few years coming off his deal and wanting to make bank in Hollywood... cough... Kevin Love... cough. There's no reason to leave the bandaid on any longer.
To sum up, Dwight, please go... be happy somewhere and go back to being the Dwight Howard we all loved in Orlando (pre-whining). And L.A., just do it. Blow it up. Rebuild. You're the fucking Lakers, you're going to be alright. Finally, media personalities arguing that Dwight should stay in L.A. need to come up with better reasons than the three I came up with. Because those aren't going to cut it.