Friday, August 17, 2012

How the Dwight Howard Deal Can Impact Two Former Tar Heels

In the next month NBA teams will begin training camps and preseason games.  In June we watched the NBA Finals that matched the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder and it seemed like a finals matchup that we would see again this season and many to come.  Then the Los Angeles Lakers landed the best center in the game, Dwight Howard.  My question is: how does this trade impact Antwan Jamison and Mitch Kupchak?

Antwan Jamison chose the Lakers over the Bobcats in free agency this off season. He left money on the table and chose to team up with Kobe Bryant in an attempt to win a championship. Jamison has had a really solid career playing for Golden State, Dallas, Washington and Cleveland but a title has eluded him.  He was traded to Cleveland and was ready to partner with Lebron James for a title run but James left that off season for Miami. Jamison has averaged 19 points and eight rebounds a game for his career. For the Lakers to be an NBA champion caliber team he does not need to approach those numbers. The Lakers starting lineup should be Steve Nash, Bryant, Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol and Howard meaning Jamison would be the very important sixth man.

Another former Tar Heel whose legacy could be defined by this deal is Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak, who played for Carolina from 1972-1976. He has lived in the shadow of former Lakers GM, Jerry West, who won seven NBA titles as the GM and he made deals to acquire Kobe Bryant and Shaquille Oneal among others. Kupchak has been ridiculed many times for the moves he made, like trading Shaq to the Miami Heat. He redeemed himself later by trading to get Gasol from the Memphis Grizzlies, a move that helped the Lakers win a title in 2009 and 2010. He has now solidified his self as one of the greatest GMs by signing Steve Nash in the off season and then trading to get the most dominant center in the NBA today in Howard, continuing the legacy of great Laker big men. Not only did he acquire Howard without trading Gasol but he traded Andrew Bynum who was a free agent at the end of season.

If the Lakers win a championship this year, Kupchak will be the architect behind this team, and Jamison will finally get a championship that has eluded him in college and professionally.

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