The trade is finally final. The Lakers acquired Dwight Howard, Chris Duhon, and Earl Clark for Andrew Bynum and a first round pick via the four-way trade. A lot of Laker fans are already booking flights for the parade and have suddenly come out of their caves to talk tough on twitter and other platforms.
But does this trade actually guarantees the Lakers a title? Of course it doesn’t. It just makes the Lakers really, really, really, really good in the short term. Steve Nash is still 39 years old, Kobe is 33 and fighting father time like hell, Metta World Peace’s offensive skills eroded two seasons ago, Pau Gasol is still soft, and the Lakers have no bench to speak of.
In the end the Thunder are still the team to beat. They have the deeper overall team and their style of basketball is exactly what this Lakers squad will have a problem with. All of the athleticism from the perimeter and ability to knock down shots outside the paint is still a threat to LA. Not to mention their bench got better when they stole swingman Perry Jones III in the draft.
LA and OKC will be in the West Finals, with it being a “pick em” in 6 games. Right now I’m leaning towards LA if they all remain healthy, including Dwight. But that is a big IF.
Mike Brown is going to have to do a great job of keeping Steve Nash and Kobe fresh for the West Finals. Russell Westbrook and James Harden are no defensive small task, especially when you are creeping in your 30′s. The addition of Howard will eliminate a lot of age from this team but at the end of the day, it will come down to chasing those young guns off the three point line and letting Dwight control the paint like only he can.