Why Lakers’ fans shouldn’t be upset with Dwight?

So, Dwight Howard took his talents to Houston. No… it’s not the glamor franchises of the LA Lakers, New York Knicks, or even the Miami Heat, but it’s a fresh start for Howard to be with new teammates and a new coach that give him the best chance to win. It’s not just the Lakers’ fans that are upset with Dwight for leaving the celebrity hounding franchise, but even the general NBA fans of America are coming out with frustration.

Fans shouldn’t be upset with Dwight Howard one stinkin’ bit because it’s not his fault he decided to leave Hollywood for Texas! Dwight Howard chose the opportunity to go to Houston because he knew that the Rockets would give him the best chance to win. Dwight experienced the worst season by far this year in his career. We knew… when the season ended, that it was going to be a failing project and evidently, we all had the suspicion and the logic to realize that Dwight was not going to stay in LA.

Why would Dwight Howard not want to stay with the Los Angeles Lakers Richie?

Well let me break it down for you…

The LA Lakers are in a state of dysfunction right now because they have a current owner, who has been unable to follow in his father’s successful footsteps. Jim Buss has made some questionable decisions in his first year as head man of that organization. Jim has also been reluctant to listen to players or personnel, who have given him suggestions and choices to make in order for his storied franchise to clearly be ten times better. A reluctant owner is already a turn off to any player!

It started with Mike Brown, who had coached the Lakers to a 1-4 start this last season. Well… for some reason in those 5 games, Jim Buss decided to fire Mike Brown, which caused a slight uproar with the media and the rest of the NBA. Many people believed Mike Brown did not get a fair shot this last season and so naturally everyone was slightly upset… UNTIL a notable name came out of the shadows and placed his name among the candidates to coach Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Steve Nash.

That name is Phil Jackson! 11-time NBA championship winning coach! Just that alone should guarantee Phil Jackson’s hiring! Am I right or am I right? So with that… please welcome the new head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers… Mike D’Antoni! Mike D’Antoni??? Who’s the genius that hired Mike D’Antoni over Phil Jackson? Oh that’s right… Jim Buss hired him. Both Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant told Jim Buss specifically to hire Phil Jackson over Mike D’Antoni. Jim Buss ignored their requests and went with his gut instead of his instincts. Recently, Dwight was asked by ESPN anchor Stephen A. Smith “if Phil Jackson was the head coach, would you be leaving?” Dwight responded with the obvious “NO!” This was clearly another problem directed towards Jim Buss.

By the end of the season, Mike D’Antoni and Dwight Howard were clearly not on the same page what so ever. The offense that Mike runs, doesn’t fit Howard’s style of play. The other issue and problem that Dwight has is the fact that Kobe Bryant is on the roster. Kobe is Kobe and he is the best player on that roster with no questions being asked, but Howard clearly doesn’t want that selfish, cocky kind of player playing along side him. Pau Gasol is another problem because the two had trouble spacing the floor, which is was Dwight Howard likes to have. Spacing the floor opens up Dwight to many different options.

The Houston Rockets supplies Dwight with an incredible owner in Leslie Alexander, who realizes and understands what it takes to get to the top. Also, they supply a healthy, young, and star-studded roster that can be developed for years to come, plus the addition of Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon, who was arguably one of the best centers to ever to touch the NBA court. Can’t forget current Rockets head coach and Hall of Fame player Kevin McHale, who practically had hundreds of post moves down in the paint while playing with the Celtics. Olajuwon and McHale will be a huge plus to Dwight’s potential success in Houston. They know exactly what Dwight Howard is going through and they know exactly what he needs. Having that relationship and same identity I think will prove to be wonders for this Hall of Fame mentor-player combination. Mike D’Antoni does not have that Hall of Fame status and it’s weird, but not surprising that this guy alone was really the reason Dwight Howard left LA.

So what are the reasons why fans should not be upset with Dwight Howard?

1. The hiring of Mike D’Antoni

2. An unstable chemistry that D’Antoni could not fix

3. A player neglecting owner in Jim Buss

4. The big and final reason is… Jim Buss himself. His questionable decision making and none feeling for his own personnel will prove to be a huge failure if he doesn’t change.

The franchise is currently lingering under a dark cloud and things need to change starting with Jim Buss. His attitude, decisions, and feelings need to change in order for this franchise to get back to domination. So if the fans should be mad at anybody… it should be the owner Jim Buss for not listening to his own personnel and players.

– Richie Boswell

Rockets trade Patterson for Robinson

By: Richie Boswell

The Houston Rockets got the first trade of what could be a trade deadline full of new destinations for NBA players. While this particular trade doesn’t jump off the map for anyone to care, it does in fact set a stepping stone where other players could land. Rumors swirled that Josh Smith, who is the big prize in these trade deadline talks, could quite possibly end up in Houston due to the pieces and young talent Houston acquired over the summer. With the trade for Thomas Robinson, it has eliminated the all fact that Houston will go after Josh Smith before the deadline.

Who got who exactly? Here is the trade between Houston, Sacramento, and Phoenix.

Houston receives:
PF Thomas Robinson
SG Francisco Garcia
SF Tyler Honeycutt

Sacramento receives:
PF Patrick Patterson
PG Toney Douglas
C Cole Aldrich

Phoenix receives:
PF Marcus Morris

I personally feel it is too early to tell who has won this trade. Patrick Patterson is clearly the best player coming out of this trade. However, Thomas Robinson is a rookie and the 5th overall pick in the first round of the the most recent draft back in June. It’s tough to say who really won this trade because it is not like Patrick Patterson is a bad player, I think it was because Houston needed to amp up on defense.

For Phoenix, they got Marcus Morris, which is funny because his twin brother Markieff Morris, plays for them. Marcus played well off the bench in Houston and I felt was sort of a minor blow to that bench, but that’s okay because Marcus has a way better opportunity to start with a struggling, practically starting over Phoenix Suns team. He could quite possibly be better in Phoenix, so it works out for him, just like for Thomas Robinson in Houston.

The problem with Sacramento’s situation is they got two expendable players in Toney Douglas and Cole Aldrich, who are in their final year of their contract. Patrick Patterson has the remaining of this year and next year on his contract. Sacramento made very little cap space in the trade. They only received about 4 million dollars in cap space. Sacramento fans and writers have not taken the news of Thomas Robinson’s departure well as the Kings have just inherited two almost expiring contracts and Patrick Patterson, and the 4 million dollars in cap space that really can’t be a huge impact in free agency.

For Houston, this can be really good or really bad depending on how Thomas Robinson plays. Houston received Francisco Garcia, who has a 6.1 million dollar contract and is a minor beat down on Houston’s cap space. However, Garcia, who has depleted in his performance over the last 2 or 3 years can be released at the end of the season due to the team option that is on his contract. That’s 6.1 million dollars in extra cap space for Houston if they choose to release him, which is a good thing because Houston already has a lot of cap space to work with. Look for Houston to release Garcia and possibly continue to work in developing Tyler Honeycutt, however the trade is based around Robinson for Houston.

Thomas Robinson will finally get the starting nods he has always wanted. In Sacramento, coach Keith Smart never really used him. Well, now that he is in Houston and Patrick Patterson is gone, it leaves the window wide open for Robinson. Robinson should be a good player and he is a big step in the right direction on the defensive side of the ball. Houston ranks 29th in defense, so this should be a more improved defense. Also, Houston is getting younger talent and has actually done really well in picking up the right set of young talent this year. Houston is the youngest team in the NBA and are in for a very bright future. They are already one of the highest scoring teams in the league, they just need to get better on defense.

To tell you who won this trade is too soon. We need to see by the end of the season or even by next year who really came out on top with this trade. I can tell you though, Houston won the battle with the cap space because they already have a lot of cap space and if they choose to drop Garcia, which by all eyes is a no-brainier, they would open up more cap space. Houston already had the cap space to sign a big name free agent in the summer. By adding more space, they obviously have more money to deal out. Look for Houston to get a big name over the summer to complete what could possibly be a serious NBA championship contender.

Should the Houston Rockets grab Josh Smith?

Atlanta has made it known that Josh Smith is out on the trade market and certain teams are listening. The Rockets, Clippers, and Spurs seem to be wanting the 6’9 27 year-old power forward. So where should Atlanta drop Josh Smith off? If they’re truly interested in pulling that move off, my speculation is the Houston Rockets would be a big fit because Houston lacks in the position and have the surrounding pieces to give Atlanta.

Houston should let Josh Smith go into free agency because giving a guy like Marcus Morris, who is on an upswing right now, and has been killing it from three point land lately to the Atlanta Hawks would be a mistake. Then to include another player like Toney Douglas or Carlos Delfino would further jeopardize the depth Houston is building. Houston is the youngest team in the NBA and they have one of the highest scoring offenses in the league and that’s not only because the starters are stepping up, it’s because the bench has also been stepping up.

On the other end of the spectrum, Josh Smith is one of the best defenders in the NBA and Houston would love to have one. Houston ranks 29th in defense. Their offense is so spectacular and ran so well by James Harden that they don’t miss a beat, but on the defensive side they look lost and can’t defend anybody even despite the effort that I see from Omer Asik. Houston would pile up more victories if their defense was just a little better and that’s why adding Josh Smith would be a plus. Omer Asik is the best defender on the team and I can see clearly he’s trying, but everybody else including starting forward Patrick Patterson lack defense. Patrick Patterson is good on the offensive side of the ball and makes some great baskets when Houston needs them most, but all that doesn’t matter unless Houston steps up on the other side of the ball.

My final verdict:
I think they should get Josh Smith, but in free agency. This is Josh Smith’s last year under contract, so get him in the summer. Its not worth trading the talent Houston has to Atlanta or any other team. Houston needs to be patient and wait. Houston has enough money to sign another star player, so sign him over the summer that way zero depth would be eliminated.

By: Richie Boswell