You might think I’m an idiot for mentioning it—and I may very well be—but just know my crime is only acknowledging that the concept exists.
According to Vincent Bongsignore of the Los Angeles Daily News, both the Lakers and Mavericks would be doing themselves a great service by swapping Howard for Nowitzki:
I pointed that out to Nowitzki. I also pointed out how his skill set would fit perfectly with the Lakers in Mike D’Antoni’s system and alongside point guard Steve Nash, whom he made beautiful music with back in the day as Dallas teammates.
The more I continued the wider Nowitzki’s smile grew. He knew exactly where this train was headed and wanted to slam on the brakes before it barreled any further down the tracks.
And before I started fitting him for a Lakers jersey.
“I mean honestly, I’d never allow myself to even think about something like that,” Nowitzki said, laughing.
I then reminded him how his buddy Nash said pretty much the same thing about playing for the Lakers last summer – only to ask the Suns to trade him to Los Angeles a week later.
“It’s funny how business works,” Nowitzki conceded.
You know what’s also funny, bordering on tragic?
Bonsignore didn’t stop there.
His not-so-witty banter with Nowitzki was more than enough to satiate our daily appetite for crazy, yet he pressed on in his dimwitted analysis:
And when you stop laughing at the thought of Nowitzki playing for the Lakers and start thinking about how much sense it makes for everyone involved, the unimaginable actually becomes plausible.
How, you ask?
By trading Dwight Howard to the Mavericks for Nowitzki.
By rolling the dice on Nowitzki paired with Nash paired with Kobe Bryant paired with Pau Gasol creating the kind of perfect amalgamation for D’Antoni’s system.
By understanding that combination gives the Lakers a better chance to compete for a championship over the next two years, not the team we see flailing about with mismatched parts trying to fit into a system it’s not built to succeed in.
And by accepting you’re going to have to blow things up in two years anyway, and with Gasol and Bryant and Nowitzki’s contracts all expiring after the 2014 season the Lakers will go into that summer with enough cap space to add at least two dynamic young stars.
Finally, by admitting Howard might not be the ideal piece to build around moving forward and by dealing him now – and adding the perfect part for D’Antoni’s offense while preserving cap space in 2014 – you’re making proper use of an asset.
I’ll give Bonsignore this: He’s got nerve. In this case, however, that’s not necessarily a good thing.
I won’t go as far to say that Howard is the perfect cornerstone for the Lakers to build around, nor will I deny that Nowitzki would be a perfect fit for Mike D’Antoni’s offense, but I stop short of condoning such a theory.
Because it’s ridiculous.
Howard is 27, and though he continues to battle upper body problems in his shoulder and back, he’s still the most dominant center in the game. His 17.3 points and 12.4 rebounds per game aren’t career-numbers, but they have come at a time when he was far from his best and on a team that is stockpiled with more lethal offensive options.
Why would the Lakers even consider trading him for a 34-year-old Nowitzki?
If we were talking about dealing Pau Gasol, then I’d be on board. But the Mavericks aren’t that stupid.
Until this season, Nowitzki, like Howard, was the poster-boy for durability. Now, however, he’s finally beginning to show his age—34. Los Angeles can’t justify shipping out someone nearly a decade younger than Nowitzki in the hopes that both he and Gasol will regain their dominant touch.
If you take anything away from this idea, let it be the notion that this isn’t going to happen.
The Lakers aren’t going to deal Howard to anyone, let alone the Mavericks and let alone for Nowitzki. And Dallas isn’t going to do this deal either. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban already told David Baumann of NBC Sports as much.
“no knock on dwight, i just won’t trade dirk,” Mark Cuban wrote to me in response to a Dwight-4-Dirk (+long term assurance) hypothetical.
— David Baumann (@DavidBaumann33) January 10, 2013
So let’s not waste are time hoping, or even trying to believe this will happen, because it won’t.
It doesn’t make sense for the Lakers and from a loyalty standpoint, it doesn’t make sense for the Mavericks.
My sincerest of apologies to Bonsignore and anyone else who is a fan of the implausible.
Dan Favale is a firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His musings can be found at Bleacherreport.com in addition to TheHoopDoctors.com. Follow @danfavale on Twitter for his latest posts and all things NBA.