Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Mitch Kupchak might not be a stock broker but he’s got a day trader’s sense of when to buy and sell when it comes to NBA personnel. The best GM in the game pulled off yet another miracle trade this offseason by acquiring Dwight Howard while giving up only Andrew Bynum.
At the time the move seemed risky given Howard’s back and Bynum coming off the healthiest season of his career. And while the Lakers haven’t shown much benefit from the services of D12 they’ve certainly gotten more from him than the Philadelphia 76ers have from Bynum.
This Sunday the Lake Show makes its one stop in Philadelphia this season where they’ll see former teammate Bynum. Of course he’ll be in a suit as he’s been all year long.
The city of Philly is still waiting for Drew to make his debut. After making it through all of last year with no major setbacks many assumed Bynum had turned a new page. But Drew being Drew there’s nothing new.
More knee problems have prolonged his absence and in typical Bynum fashion there is an element of the immature. One of Bynum’s recent setbacks was exasperated by a bowling incident. Nothing much more needs to be said as Laker fans are all too familiar with the baggage that comes with Bynum.
Still it is the 76ers that are in better shape than the Lakers as evident by the standings. While Philly is on the outside looking in at the playoff picture they are tied for the 8th seed in the East and are above .500. The same cannot be said for the woefully underachieving Lake Show.
The Dwight Howard effect hasn’t taken this team to the heights most expected. So in many regards the Lakers have gotten no more from Howard than the Sixers have from Bynum.
None the less Kupchak sold his Bynum stock at the exact right time. Imagine going through this tumultuous season with Drew sitting on the sideline in street clothes. Overall the Lakers played their hand perfectly with the acquisition and eventual sale of Bynum.
All that remains to be seen is what Dwight Howard will decide once the season is over. If Howard walks then the Bynum trade will prove fruitless as a one year rental of a franchise big man is not what Kupchak was looking for. Also, if Bynum can get healthy and play at an All-Star level again then he could take Philly into contention in the East.
For now the Lakers are the winners in this deal if for no other reason than addition by subtraction. But just who gets the last laugh will be determined only in the final standings. At the moment it’s the Lakers that are looking up at the 76ers in that department.