How happy are the Nets now that they don’t have Dwight Howard?
The superstar center’s departure from Orlando is well known. First he wanted out, then he said he would stay but the entire time he really just wanted to come to Brooklyn to play for the new look Nets. When that became apparent, the Nets tried to acquire Howard but couldn’t get a deal done and moved on.
Howard ended up with the Los Angeles and on paper with Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash, the Lakers were easily one of the favorites out of the Western Conference. There was no thought that this team would falter and a deep run in the playoffs seemed like an absolute guarantee.
Unfortunately for the Lakers, the reality of their “dream team” has been a nightmare. The Lakers are currently in 12th place in the West with a 17-24 record and Dwight Howard will most likely be shown the exit before February’s trade deadline.
The Nets, from left to right: Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez would love to add a player of Howard’s talent but the Nets should avoid the temptation. PHOTO COURTESY: ROBERT SABO/NY DAILY NEWS
The Nets on the other hand are thriving without Howard and after a slight scare in December that forced them to fire Avery Johnson; they are playing like one of the best teams in the NBA. The trade they didn’t make has been their best move of this past off-season when they signed Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Gerald Wallace to long term deals with the money they didn’t spend on Howard.
Monday’s slate of games was the perfect barometer of where both teams sit in the league. The Nets beat the Knicks 88-85 to improve to 25-16 on the season and the Lakers lost an ugly on to the Bulls 95-83 that provoked a Bryant rant after the game.
The funny thing about Howard’s situation is that the Nets could still be an option for him when the Lakers decide they have to trade him. In fact, it has been rumored on Tuesday that the Nets would be interested in acquiring Howard.
The guy possesses obvious skills that many centers in the league can’t match so the thought of adding a player of his caliber is very tempting. And now that the Lakers are going to be pretty desperate to get rid of him before he walks in free agency this summer, they will be selling one of the best talents in the NBA at his lowest.
This makes acquiring Howard tempting, but it is a temptation that the Nets should avoid.
With all the drama that has surrounded Howard over the last two years the Nets would have to ask themselves: “Is it worth it?” At this point, this is an easy answer and if they did decide to go after him it would be a huge mistake.
The Nets need to stick with the team they have because as the old saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” It certainly isn’t broke now and doesn’t show signs of breaking down any time soon. They are finally gelling and if they decided to bring in an egocentric player such as Howard could be just the thing that derails a good team.
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Contributor – Dave Ragazzo – @DRagazzo_Sports
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