Dwight Howard or Andrew Bynum? That seems to be the question that has yet to be answered by Lakers management. Should they trade for a known superstar that can handle a team on his back or for a budding All-Star that has been having maturity issues for as long as he has been in the league?

For Lakers fans, the decision is to keep Andrew Bynum. There are multiple reasons why his name shouldn't even be on the trading block.

1. Andrew Bynum hasn't peaked yet, talent-wise. 

Bynum had his best year in the 2011-2012 season which earned him a spot on the All-Star Roster. He averaged 18.7 PPG and 11.8 REB's a game.Dwight's 20.6 PPG and 14.5 REB's is still more than Bynum's, but he had to share the ball with Gasol and Bryant which limited the amount of time he had the ball in his hands. 

2. Bynum can step aside and be a team player while Howard wants to be the leader. 

Why would the Lakers risk a conflict with Howard and Bryant when Bryant and Bynum have already proven that they can work together and make it to the playoffs. 

3. Bringing in Howard poses a risk. 

Lets say that the Lakers do bring Dwight to LA. Lets say he start the season. And lets say he re-injures his herniated disk in his back. Now he's out for most of the season and the Lakers are even worse off then they were before. A good risk? I don't think so.

4. Howard's defense is superior, but that can be fixed.

By bringing in a couple key free agents, the Lakers could bolster down a strong bench which could bring them back to the Finals. I'll elaborate later. 

To me (and most Laker fan I have spoken to), Bynum is a sure thing that has proven his worth to the franchise. If the Lakers really want to improve, the free agent market is where it should happen. 

These are the deal(s) that LA should make this off-season. 

1. O.J. Mayo to LA in sign and trade. 

For those who say that OJ won't fill nay needs of LA don't watch the Lakers. What do the Lakers need? A bench scorer who give valuable resting time to Kobe? Someone who can fill it up from long range? Someone who can downright play ball? Sounds a lot like OJ Mayo. And maybe learning from Bryant might interest Mayo even more to come to Hollywood. 

2. Brandon Rush to LA.

While the Lakers probably only could bring in one player with the mid-level exception, if Mayo doesn't come, Rush is a great player to fill the role. He can shoot, play D, and still help take time for Kobe. 

3. Deshawn Stevenson or Jodie Meeks. 

These are just some valuable guards that can play SG or PG who might be valuable to the Lakers. Meeks is a fast, energetic guard and Stevenson can shoot the 3 ball and play D. Options are good. 

4. Kenyon Martin or Carl Landry. 

Old, yes. But they can still contribute to a team that needs backup post players. This would also help their defense. Keep Bynum and grab Martin to secure a strong post presence. 

Getting any of these players would be amazing and if the Lakers find a way to get them, they MIGHT just be better than the Heat. 


If I post every time there is drama in Orlando, I wouldn't be able to sleep. This time, the drama is between the 6x All Star Center Dwight Howard and the Magic’s head coach Stan Van Gundy. The relationship between Van Gundy and Dwight has been a bumpy one to say the least. (Kardashian-esque? That might be the right word for it.) From being knocked out of the first round of the playoffs last season by the 5th seed Atlanta Hawks to the trade rumors in February and early March and the eventual 2 year resigning, there has been no real unity between anyone in the organization. On the court and in the locker room, Dwight Howard had and has been continually criticizing his teammates for not playing at the level that he thinks they can compete at. Jameer Nelson looks lost, no real bench contribution, and Jason Richardson just rolls the dice on whether he will actually try to play that night. The trade deadline drama and then to top it all off, this. Dwight Howard has been asking for the Orlando Magic to fire Stan Van Gundy. (You can read the full report on nba.com right here->http://hangtime.blogs.nba.com/2012/04/05/magic-coach-stan-van-gundy-confirms-report-dwight-howard-wants-him-gone/?ls=iref%3Anbahpt1) With Dwight on board for the next two years, what will the Magic do if they want to keep him forever?

1. Trade pieces to get a better supporting cast in the off-season.

Jameer Nelson, an underachieving point guard. Jason Richardson, an older shooting guard with a streaky shot. Hedo Turkoglu is Hedo Turkoglu. Ryan Anderson and JJ Reddick, the second and third best players on the team. That is nowhere near a championship caliber team. In fact, I’m really surprised that they are 5th in the conference. Maybe its time for Otis Smith to get trade for a solid point guard and some good pieces that can come off the bench.

 

2. Get a veteran.

This is kind of a 1a. sort of thing because it goes with my first point. If a Steve Nash type player joins this team and they are already a 5th seed without one of those, this would drastically change the way the Magic are right now. Locker room drama would subside, Dwight wouldn’t have to worry about not getting touches, and they would become a decent contender again.  

 

3.  Keep Dwight Howard as happy as possible.

Maybe that means fire Stan; maybe it means wait it out. Either way, keep you superstar in Orlando because Dwight Howard’s don’t come very often. If they do decide to fire Van Gundy, there are many capable coaches on the market. D’Antoni’s offensive style might suit the Magic better. Or if John Calipari wants to jump on a plane and fly to Orlando, that would be a fun team to watch.

 

In all, the Magic need to re-evaluate their plan. They obviously desperately want Dwight Howard in Orlando, but the Magic front office needs to actually consider what Dwight wants. Not necessarily DO everything he demands, but show him that they’ll actually consider his thoughts on a trade, a coaching change, etc. After all, the 32-22 Orlando Magic who are on a 4-game losing streak (New York, Dallas, Denver, and Detroit) just need to lose 5 more games and they could be out of the playoffs. Tonight, the drama continues as the struggling New York Knicks face Dwight and the Magic in Orlando on TNT. 


Austin Rivers, one of the most exciting players this year in NCAA basketball, has declared for the 2012 NBA Draft. Starting at the SG position at Duke, Rivers put up 15.5 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 2.1 assists. He also added 1 steal but followed that with 2.3 turnovers per game. So just how would the game winner, driving, confident shooting guard hold up in the NBA.

Lets start with the positives. He is a decent shooter from the field. He clocked in 43.3% of his shots from the field and rained down 36.5 % of his trey's. He has also shown his late game abilities by hitting a game winner against North Carolina. He could try and improve his shooting, since most shooting guards in the NBA will hit way higher percentages of their shots. Another positive is that he is a great ball handler, with impressive crossovers and hesitations, but that will only get him so far. 

At 6"5 with a 6"7 wingspan, he could be a very long and versatile defender, but did not show commitment all year round for Duke. He can keep up with smaller guard and stick with the bigger ones, but that's it. Not many steals and blocks were non-existent at 0% on the year. 

For me though, this is all about what he can improve on. First of all, his free throw percentage is horrible. Averaging 5.4 free throws a game, he only knocks in about 65.8 percent. Most, if not all guards should be near at least 80%. Granted its college, but he does take quite a lot of free throws a game for being on the court 33.2 minutes a game. 

Another downside to Rivers is that he is very thin for a NBA shooting guard. To me, it looks like he hasn't been focusing in the weight room as much as he should, which might reveal something about his character. Or maybe he's just skinny, who knows. 

The main thing that bothers me though is how he is just a scorer, and that's it. He has shown at Duke that he would rather put on a head of steam and try to finish at the basket instead of passing the ball out to the wing. He rarely can dish out assists and teams might want to try him at the point position, where he might struggle. 

Personally, I think Rivers could use another year in college. His basketball IQ is high on the offensive end, but lacks on the defensive end, passing, and rebounding. He could also use that year to grow into his body, which when he does, he would be even more of a threat. The NBA might be a little too much for him right now, as he has barely seemed to change from his high school days, besides his shooting percentage. If he stayed in college, he might even be the #1 pick later on in the future. 


Interesting past week for us basketball fans, and an even more interesting day for Derek Fisher. Fisher officially joined the Oklahoma City Thunder on March 21st, and the same day suited up for the game against the Los Angeles Clippers, where they won 114-91. He was initially traded toHouston, but was picked up off of waivers. 

Dropping 5 pts, 1 reb, and 1 assists in 19 minutes, Fisher really seem comfortable with the system that OKC runs. Scott Brooks created an offense that is fast paced and usually consists of pushing the ball, running pick and rolls, pick and pops, and a flex offense that made Fisher a little more comfortable after being on the team for only a couple hours. 

For the Lakers, this might have seemed like a good deal at first. By giving up your aging point guard that can't put up big numbers in any category or stay with the younger, quicker guards in the league, they upgraded in talent and youth. Ramon Sessions is a budding talent in the NBA and gives that youthful kick that the Lakers so desperately need in the final 19 games of the season. (More specifically a 10.5 pts, and 5.2 assist per game kick) 

However, there should be more of a concern with this trade that applause. First of all, the Lakers gave away a trusted teammate of Kobe Bryant. In a late game situation, Fisher is the only person thatKobewould actually pass (he passes?) to and rely on to make the big shot, which more than not he does. So #1, you lose clutch plays. Without Fisher, Kobe can be easily double teamed and who will take it now, Ramon Sessions, Steve Blake, Metta World Peace (just change your name back already), or Matt Barnes. None of those names sound like they are reliable in the last seconds of a game. You also lose the mental aspect of the game that you need to win. Derek Fisher is probably one of the best leaders, teammates, coaches, floor general, etc. He pushes his teammates to victory and wins games for you even if he doesn't put up amazing numbers. 

With that being said, the Lakers gave him away and he ended up on a team that, with Fisher being the back up PG, have a better chance at being the NBA champions. Derek gives the OKC roster leadership and veteran knowledge, which was one thing they were missing. 

In my opinion, OKC is the team to beat in the West. They have the best record in the West and probably have the most complete starting 5 and bench. With Durant and Westbrook leading the way and Harden and Fisher off the bench, this team could be close to hoisting the trophy in late-June. 


1. Dwight Howard has chosen to opt in, meaning he’ll stay with the Orlando Magic at least until the summer of 2013. 

Finally, closure. I think Dwight changed his mind 2 or 3 times in a matter of hours, but still, he is staying in Orlando for another season. Hopefully this will give the Magic management the chance to bring in key players during free agency. With Jameer Nelson not playing to the high standard that the Magic are holding him at, Steve Nash could be a possibility since he is a free agent this summer. The team can use a veteran to help get this team back on track to becoming a championship contender. 

2. The Indiana Pacers have picked up Leandro Barbosa from the Toronto Raptors for a second round pick. 

This is probably the most exciting trade, considering that Indiana got one of the better guards in the league for a second round pick. Adding the lightning quick Barbosa with Collison in the back court is a smart move and makes Indiana much more of a contender coming out of the East. 

3. The Memphis Grizzlies have given Sam Young to the Sixers for future considerations. 

Ok. Doesn't really make a huge impact so Ill just leave this one alone. 

4. Mike D'Antoni has officially resign from the position of head coach for the NY Knicks.

Well, at least D'Antoni doesn't have to deal with the Melo-drama anymore. There have been reports that Phil Jackson and Jerry Sloan have been considered for the job. 

5. The Portland Trailblazers decided to trade Gerald Wallace to the NJ Nets for  Mehmet Okur, Shawne Williams and a protected first-round pick. They have also traded Marcus Camby to the Houston Rockets for Johnny Flynn and Hasheem Thabeet. 

Portland is like the Titanic. Sinking. Slowly but surely, the Blazers have dropped to the near bottom of the West in a matter of weeks. By giving the 3 spot to Batum and putting a stretch 5 in Okur out there, Portland should be much happier. With a stretched floor, Aldridge will have more space to create shots for himself and teammates on the wings. Just let Felton go and the air in Portland will be that much clearer. 

6. The LA Lakers have acquired Ramon Sessions and Christian Eyenga from the Cleveland Cavaliers for Luke Walton and a 2012 first round pick. 

Without Luke Walton, who will warm the bench for Kobe!!!?? In all seriousness, the Lakers are smart for this trade. Not only did they add a young, strong defensive guard with Ramon Sessions and an athletic, banger in Eyenga, but they have gotten rid of Luke Walton. I think every Lakers fan is smiling right about now. 

7. Golden State receives Richard Jefferson and a first round pick for Stephen Jackson. 

Gregg Popovich love S-Jax. So does San Antonio. They is history there and with him on the market, it was a no brainer to trade for him. 

8.  Lakers had traded Fisher and a 2012 Draft pick for forward-center Jordan Hill.

Why. Why. Why. Why. Why would you trade a man that has been loyal to your franchise for years? One that has one multiple championships and is your star players closest friend? One that will happily take and make the game winner? One that Kobe trusts with the ball in the last seconds of the game? It doesn't make sense. 

9. Nick Young to Clippers for Brian Cook and draft pick.


Finally, the first big trade of the season! According to different sources, Golden State traded Monta Ellis, Kwame Brown, and Ekpe Udoh for Milwaukee's big man Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson. Golden State, who have been the center of the Dwight Howard trade talk, dealt away their best player for a decent center and small forward. 

To me, this trade was somewhat unnecessary for Golden State. While Golden State might have wanted to get rid of Ellis, for a reason that i'm not sure about, now the Warriors don't have a lot of talent in their back court. Curry has been re-injuring the same ankle during this tight season and trying to build around a rookie like Klay Thompson is a huge risk that I'm not sure will benefit them at all. With Klay being half the player that Ellis is, putting this amount of pressure on him took be too much too soon. 

This is another story for Milwaukee though. By adding Ellis to an already strong backcourt, mainly because of Jennings, this will make probably the most exciting guard combo in the league. Also, picking up Ekpe Udoh and Kwame Brown would provide a great spark on the defensive end off the bench. Udoh is also another budding player that could become a force later on in his career. In his last few games Udoh has been pulling down a good amount of board and putting the ball in the basket efficiently. While his career 5.5 points and 3.9 boards don't say much, he has been showing something that you want in young players, improvement. 

 

With Golden State pretty much out of the Howard talk, this trade was probably a desperate way of getting rid of Ellis since they are in love with Thompson. They wanted to get a supporting cast while they groom Klay to the player that they want him to be. Too bad for the Warrior fans, who have been suffering for years with horrible season records. Fortunately for the Bucks fans, with this trade they probably see their Bucks make it to the playoffs. By adding depth and talent to the team that has managed to be tied for 8th place with Knicks,we will surely see a new era of basketball in Milwaukee. 


If this is a nightmare, somebody wake me up right now. If you haven't heard yet, “Ricky Rubio's 2011-12 season is over due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee" writes Steve Aschburner of NBA.com. During a close game in Minnesota against the LA Lakers, Rubio ran to double team Kobe Bryant at the 3 pt line. As he slowed down his leg buckled, resulting in a torn ACL. Now with Rubio out, can the Timberwolves make the playoffs?

Right now, the Timberwolves are sitting at 9th in the Western Conference, 1.5 games behind Dallas, who is the eighth seed. As it stands, the Minnesota roster is not capable of beating any one of the teams that are in the playoffs without Rubio. Rubio is 5th in assists per game and 3rd in steals in the whole NBA, not just rookies. His efficiency on the court is spectacular and he sparks the team when they are losing.

Ricky Rubio is too good of a player that if the Wolves don't get another point guard that would help while he is out, they will drop to the lower end of the conference fast. Kevin Love can carry a team, but his running mate and right hand man is the reason why the Timberwolves are even in the playoff conversation.

If the Wolves don’t get a replacement point guard to help a below average backcourt, there is no way they will be considered a decent team. Jose Berea is an option, but is nowhere as near as effective as Rubio is. If no trades are made, games like the one against NOH (95-87 loss) might start to become routine.  


In these past few weeks, there has been speculations as to who is going to be traded and who is staying put. Although Dwight Howard has been the best player rumored to maybe be shipped by the trade deadline, there are many other players who are on the trading block that could have an immense impact on a team. One player tat fits the description is SG Jamal Crawford. Rumors have surfaced that the LA Clippers have been interested in filling the gaping hole in the shooting guard slot with Jamal. So if the Clippers open their doors to the Portland SG, how will they fare in the west?

Well first of all, the Clippers will have to give up one or two players to acquire Crawford. Giving up Randy Foye or Eric Bledsoe might be the best option since Bledsoe, although plagued with injuries, is a young talent that might bring a spark to Portland and take the PG spot from the struggling Felton. Foye has also been a very consistent player, 8.6 points and 2.3 assists, and would also benefit from being in Portland by bringing a spark off the bench behind Wesley Matthews. 

Bringing Crawford to LA would be an immediate upgrade from Randy Foye (Crawford is averaging 14.5 points and 3.9 assists) and would provide offense that the Clippers desperately need. The Clippers offense has been very stagnant of late and Crawford would fix that problem. Also, pairing Crawford with Paul in the backcourt during the final seconds of a close game would almost assure a great shot. Chris Paul and Jamal Crawford are both known for their abilities to win close games, and if teams start to double team Paul, Crawford will be open to take a shot. Same goes for when teams double team Crawford.

Lastly, Crawford would take pressure off of everyone else to score. Double teaming Blake when Paul, Crawford, and Butler are on the wing is too dangerous, which makes 1 on 1 match ups that Griffin would win 90% of the time.

To me, the Clippers would be one of the favorites in the West if they traded for Jamal Crawford. With a starting line-up of Chris Paul, Jamal Crawford, Caron Butler, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan, this team would be deadly in the playoffs. The Clips have the veterans and the young talent that would bring them deep into the playoffs and having Crawford would provide a refreshing change that the Clippers can use during their tough schedule in March. 


Steve Nash might be going to Orlando, sources say.

 For as long as I've watched my favorite point guard Steve Nash play, I have always seen him in an orange jersey. Of course I would wonder what would happen if he reunited with Dirk in Dallas, or in anywhere else other than Phoenix, but he has always been loyal to the desert.

 Let’s be honest, Phoenix is a sinking ship. Unless a mega-superstar gets dropped from the sky and somehow finds himself in Phoenix, the Suns aren't even close to getting back into the playoffs. Marcin Gortat is the only player other than Nash that is playing at an All-Star level and Grant Hill is probably going to retire after his contract is up. I think that a petition needs to be started #FreeNash because as loyal as he has been, he deserves a chance at a championship. As the season nears the trade deadline, teams are lining up to offer up for Steve. Here are some of the rumors:

1. Orlando Magic

Sources say that Orlando is pushing hard for Steve Nash. A trade for Nash would mean that Orlando would give up some of their young, talented players like Ryan Anderson or J.J. Reddick. With this being a huge blow to their already short-on-talent personnel, gaining Nash, who is playing at an All-Star level, would make a deadly pairing with Dwight Howard. Howard is already carrying his team, and adding Nash would make this team a championship contender. 2 All-Stars on the same team is the norm right now, but the way Dwight and Steve will work together, I think, will make them a threat to teams like Chicago and Miami.

2. Lakers

I know that this would make the Lakers amazing, but I doubt it will happen. Getting Nash will probably mean giving up Pau Gasol and some young players and draft picks. The trade will probably consist of Nash and Frye for Pau, Goudelock, draft picks, and cash. I want this to happen so badly. Kobe and Nash! Are you kidding me!? This is probably one to just dream about, though.

3. Dallas Mavericks

Lamar and Beaubois for Nash. Sounds good on paper but won't work in real life. Trading Odom who has an expiring contract and Beaubois who is injury prone, this isn't a good trade for Phoenix.

4. Portland Trailblazers

To me, this is the best deal for both teams. If the trade is Nash for Batum, Felton, and others, Phoenix will get younger and really talented with Batum and Felton. Batum is the best part of this deal for Phoenix by far. He can heat up fast and has shown all around talent with the touch from the 3 pt line and great defense. He definitely has the talent to become an All-Star later on in his career. Felton would be more of a throw-in, since he has been slacking this season in Portland. But maybe the powers that brought Shaq back can bring Felton back as well. Nash will make the Trailblazers the favorite in the West. With Nash, Crawford, Aldridge, Camby, Wallace, and Matthews, the Blazers will have the young talent to bring the team to life and the leadership and experience of Nash to bring them far into the playoffs. If Nash goes anywhere, I would place my bet on Portland.


Warning: this is just what I have heard, seen, read, etc. and my opinions to these rumors. :)

Spurs reportedly trying to get Omeka Okafur and/or Tayshaun Prince?

  1. One of the most underrated big men, Omeka can really make out well in this deal. If this trade rumor is true, the Spurs will have to give up one of their players such as Richard Jefferson, Danny Green, De Juan Blair and Matt Bonner. If anything happened, it wouldn't be that bad of a deal for the Spurs. All of those players are good role players, but bringing Okafur, whose full talent hasn't been tapped into yet, could benefit from learning from Tim Duncan. This could be another David Robinson situation which could keep the legacy of Legendary PF's in SA rolling.
  2. I have always loved how good Prince was back then when the Pistons won the Championship. I also think he short changes himself in his abilities, too. He is just in a bad situation, bad place, and bad time. If he ends up in SA, the Spurs will have arguably the best all-around team in the NBA.

 

Orlando looking for Steve?

According to a couple of sources, GM Otis Smith is reported to be going after the 2x MVP Steve Nash. This poses many different situations for Orlando.

1. No Nash, No Dwight.

Without getting Nash in a trade, there is no point for Dwight to stay in Orlando.

2. Get Nash, Keep Dwight.

If the Magic get Steve and Dwight stays, the whole NBA changes. It would be like another ice age and that's not an exaggeration. (Maybe an exaggeration) The Magic would turn into a championship contending team again, the Nets will likely lose D-Will, Lakers lose opportunity to get Dwight, and the Mavs chances to get D-Will and Dwight is gone.

Another possibility for Orlando would be to let Dwight go to free agency and re-sign him with the intention of signing D-Will.

Lakers

Trading for

  1. Michael Beasley- This would be pretty smart. Not only would his skills fit the Lakers, but Kobe would help with Beasley’s immaturity problem.
  2. Raymond Felton- While Felton has fallen out of favor in Portland; Mike Brown is reportedly trying to get Felton on the Lakers. Felton’s production has gone missing this year, but maybe a change in scenery will up his stats and morale.
  3. Luis Scola and Kyle Lowry for Pau Gasol- This probably will never happen because with Kyle Lowry being an upcoming superstar, this would be just dumb for the Rockets. They would trade away their 2 best players for 1 great player. Makes no sense in my opinion.
  4. Rajon Rondo- This is even more stupid than Scola and Lowry for Gasol. Why would the Celtics trade away their best player, their future, their up and coming multiple times All Star for anyone on the Lakers? The Celtics only have Avery Bradley as a backup PG and he is nowhere near Rondo skill wise.

Boston

  1. Trying to get Kevin Martin?

Danny Ainge is a smart man. Ever since he said that he would be open to trading an aging championship team he has really opened the market to some great deals. With Kevin Martin unhappy in Houston and Danny Ainge ready to pull the trigger, this would be a great upgrade for the future of the Boston Celtics. He does what Ray Allen does, runs off of screens and shoots with deadly aim. He is a little bit better of a play maker that Allen, though, while Allen is the better shooter.

Wizards

  1. Trying to trade Andray Blatche?

No-one in their right mind will take this player. Period. He hasn’t proven himself and has shown a sloppy work ethic. The Wizards should use the Amnesty Clause to save themselves and the fans from even more torture.