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5 Reasons Dwight "Rent-A-Center" Howard Won't Re-Sign With L.A. PDF Print E-mail
There's No Place Like Home
In the biggest trade of the off-season, the L.A. Lakers effectively swapped Andrew Bynum for the Orlando Magic's Dwight "Rent-A-Center" Howard. Howard's relationship with the Magic had run hot and cold, with the Magic bending over backwards to entice him to stay. Feeling Orlando did not have the necessary talent around him to win a chip, Rent-A-Center alerted management that he would not re-sign so they eventually traded him to L.A. With "exceptionally more talent than the rest of the league," the Lakers' taking the cake was an afterthought. Yet all is not right in Tinseltown; L.A. has gotten off to a disappointing 15-21 start, and have since shttered coach Mike Brown for Mike D'Antoni. Rent-A-Center's contract expires at the end of the year, and below are five reasons he won't re-sign with the Lakers: 

The Lakers are Trash ... "Gone With the Wind Trash"

In the words of Charles Barkley, the Lakers are "turrble." After being put to sleep by the Thunder 116-101 Friday night, the Lakers stand at 15-21 and have lost six games in a row. They are in 11th place in the Western Conference standings, and five games behind Houston for the 8th playoff spot. Most of the team's focus has been on the offensive end. When D'Antoni was brought in, Lakers stans pointed out how the offensive wunderkind would return the team to the "Showtime" era of Magic Johnson and James Worthy. But that has been far from the case.  L.A. averages 103.1 points per game - 4th in the league. But they have not utilized Rent-A-Center or the Gimp inside as much as they should have, and when the offense breaks down, Horry Jr eventually resorts to "hero ball." This may work for Horry Jr - he leads the league in scoring and shot attempts - but it hasn't led to wins. That said, the team's most glaring weakness is its defense. L.A. has shown no desire to maintain defensive intensity for 48 minutes, and its "help" defense is practically non-existent. The Lakers give up an eye-popping 102.1 points/games, ranking them 25th out of 30 teams. 

Rent-A-Center Not Getting Enough Touches

When healthy, Howard is the best center in the game. With Rent-A-Center and the Gimp, the Lakers have two skilled big men at the same ____ time - most teams are lucky to have one. The prevailing theory was that L.A. would pound the ball inside to the bigs, creating high percentage shots. Everyone else, Metta World Peace, Steve Nash and Horry Jr, would play off them. However, Horry Jr (22.1 FGs/game) shoots three times as much as Howard, (10.7 FGs/game), and averages more points (30.1/game) than Howard (17.3/game) and the Gimp (12.2/game) combined.  Rent-A-Center recently complained about the Lakers' lack of passing , a clear shot at Horry Jr. Howard used to be the focal point in Orlando, but the "pass to Horry Jr offense" will continue as long as he remains in L.A.

Rent-A-Center and Horry Jr Don't Get Along

The big question before anyone comes to L.A. is, "Can he get along with Horry Jr?" Horry Jr's beef with Shaq is well-known. But he also clashed with Glenn Rice, Bynum and the Gimp. When Howard recently complained about the team's lack of chemistry, what the public heard was, "Horry Jr and I don't get along" :

(Chemistry is) something we have to do to get better. We have to play like we like each other. Even if we don't want to be friends off the court, whatever that may be, when we step in between the lines or we step in the locker room or the gym, we have to respect each other and what we bring to the table.

He Controls His Own Destiny

The harsh reality is that except for Horry Jr, everybody in L.A. is expendable. If the Lakers would discard Shaq, Lamar Odom, the Gimp / Andrew Bynum at the same ____ time, who all won chips for the Lakers, then why would anybody think Rent-A-Center is not expendable?  There is a pattern with the Lakers where as long as (i) Horry Jr is getting his 35 FGs/game and (ii) L.A. is winning then it's "all good." If one of those things doesn't happen, somebody is getting thrown under the bus. If Howard feels like he can't win with L.A., it's best not to re-sign because (i) he controls his own destiny and (ii) he doesn't allow L.A. to ship him some place he doesn't want to go. If he re-signs and the ship keeps sinking, they will trade Howard, and it may be some place like Milwaukee, Sacramento or Mayberry USA.

He Misses Orlando

In the Lakers, Howard is matched with a team that won't make the playoffs; if they do, they'll be in the bottom four of the playoff bracket, and will probably get bounced early. In Orlando, Howard also had a team that could not make the playoffs, let alone win a chip. However, he was the focal point of the offense and there was far less drama. In the four team trade involving Howard, Orlando received Al Harrington, forward Josh McRoberts, rookie swingman Moe Harkless, forward Nikola Vucevic, and a bunch of future draft picks. The Magic currently stand at 13-23, only two games worse than L.A. If Howard were to return to Orlando, ironically he would return to a team with the pieces around him to win a chip; it would also be the story of the decade - how a small market team one-upped a large market franchise in L.A. When dating, sometimes you have give a person "the gift of missing you." Howard has received that gift and appears to be much-appreciative. Now it's time to return home.


With the critically acclaimed new book, "Shock Exchange: How Inner-City Kids From Brooklyn Predicted the Great Recession and the Pain Ahead," Ralph Baker breaks down the NBA and college games and recommends remedies to improve both.


Where to Buy:

Shock Exchange is available electronically through Barnes & Noble (NOOK), Amazon (Kindle), iTunes, etc. The print version is available through the following retailers and bookstores:  

Print Version: 

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/

Barnes & Noble online www.Barnesandnoble.com

Alibris  www.alibris.com

St. Marks Bookshop: (212-260-7853) http://www.stmarksbookshop.com/ , located 31 3rd Avenue, New York, NY

Word: (718-383-0096) http://www.wordbrooklyn.com/ , 126 Franklin Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11222

Greenlight Bookstore: (718-246-0200) http://www.greenlightbookstore.com/  

Hampden-Sydney College Bookstore: http://cougar.hsc.edu/cgi-bin/main_inv.exe , item number: 38561. Or call Jason Huskey at 434-223-6117.

Call Mr. Baker Directly: 917-697-8168.


Farmville-Prince Edward Community Library 

Bortz Library - Hampden-Sydney College 

Darden Business School - University of Virginia

Cleveland Public Library

SUNY - Buffalo

SUNY - Albany

Longwood University

Alexandria Library

Florida A&M University

Los Angeles Public Library

Virginia Union University

San Francisco Public Library

Medgar Evers College

LaGuardia Community College

Robert W. Woodruff Library - Atlanta University Center

Albright Memorial Library - Scranton, PA 

Stark County District Library

Ford Library at Duke Fuqua School of Business

Virginia Tech

College of Staten Island

Bernards Township - NJ

Jackson District Library - Michigan

Las Vegas Public Library



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