If Facing Ultimatum, Lakers Must Choose Dwight Howard Over Kobe

If Facing Ultimatum, Lakers Must Choose Dwight Howard Over Kobe


Let’s take a look at the statistics from 2005-11. This indicates every season from the time of the trade until O’Neal’s retirement from the NBA.

First, we have Shaq’s numbers;


Next, here’s Kobe’s for the same period of time;

kobestatspergameIt’s not even close, is it? And remember, this isn’t because Kobe played longer than Shaq purely because he was younger. These are just the years when Shaq was still in the league, and Kobe’s numbers do more than speak for themselves.

Bryant averaged over 12 more points per game, three more assists per game, 10 more minutes per game and just 2.7 rebounds less per game.

Take a minute to look at that last statistic, because I feel like that’s one of the most telling of them all. O’Neal, the 7’1″ center averaged only 2.7 more rebounds per game than the 6’7″ shooting guard that spent most of his time on the perimeter.

Oh, and Kobe played in 144 more regular season games than Shaq during that time period.

And one more thing. During that time span, from ’05-’11, Kobe’s teams won two championships. Shaq’s won one.


Eight years after the trade, there’s not a single person that will try and tell you the Lakers made the incorrect choice by choosing Bryant over Shaq. Because they didn’t. But do they have what it takes to make the same move again?

It may seem like a difficult decision, but in reality it’s anything but. Just like we did with O’Neal and Kobe from 2004, let’s take a look at some of the numbers now to try and give ourselves a clearer idea of what exactly we’re looking at here.

Kobe Bryant is in his 17th NBA season. Dwight Howard is in his ninth.

Kobe Bryant is 34 years-old. Dwight Howard is 27.

Kobe Bryant has played 53,123 minutes of NBA basketball including the postseason. Let’s do that one more time.NBA: Los Angeles Lakers-Media Day

53,123 minutes of NBA basketball.

Dwight Howard has played 26,421 minutes of NBA basketball. Again, including the playoffs.

In that batch of numbers, there’s not a single statistic that goes in Bryant’s favor. And it’s nothing against Kobe. As Mos Def so poignantly pointed out in 1999, it’s simple mathematics.

In sports there’s only one undefeated entity – time. No player can play forever. Even Kobe’s impressive longevity, which admittedly is already leaps and bounds ahead of O’Neal’s, isn’t going to last forever. By sacrificing a year or two of Kobe’s production for the long-term benefits of the franchise, the Lakers put themselves in a place where they can still be relevant in 2020, rather than sinking to the bottom of the NBA abyss in 2017.

Regardless, the team can’t make a decision here that isn’t going to be criticized endlessly, by fans and media alike. Especially if they make the right decision and let Bryant go in favor of Howard. But this isn’t something the organization hasn’t experienced before. Just like the scrutiny they faced after trading O’Neal in 2004, the front office knew that in the long term, picking young over old was the right decision and would pay off in the long run. Even through the lean years when the Lakers struggled and were forced to watch Shaq hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy in South Beach, they stayed the course and stuck by the decision they had made. And in the long run it paid off. Twice.

But that brings us back to 2013. Things are a lot different now than they were then. Kobe’s contributions to the franchise are something that will never be undone, and are unparalleled, once again, outside of Magic Johnson. It’s possible the organization gets gun shy, and becomes worried about the impact the move could have on public perception if they’re so quick to dump a player that has done so much for them.

The Lakers aren’t in the business of nostalgia or strolls down memory lane. They’re in the business of winning championships. And moving forward Dwight Howard is the player that gives them the best opportunity to do so. Whether you believe it or not, the numbers (and history) don’t lie.

It’s just business, right?

  • Pushbroom

    dumb post. a good coach can make both players coexist. Howard as the future? Insanity. The future of basketball isnt with centers who cant make free throws or have no offensive game. The future is players like LeBron and Durant type players…

    • Jonathan Ly

      Phil Jackson couldn’t get Shaq and Kobe to coexist, what makes you think anyone, including Phil, could salvage this.

      The Lakers need Howard, otherwise they won’t have anything. Daniel is right, Time has a perfect record against every player in the NBA. Kobe, at 34, simply cannot carry a team like his used to. A team with a 39 year old point guard, 34 year old superstar, 31 year old Second option (at best) scorer, and the league’s top center. Betting on the older half isn’t smart.

      Howard basically willed the Magic into the Magic into the Finals with 20 pts, 13 rebounds, and 3 blocks a night. That’s pretty damn good.

      The Lakers need to go with Dwight, because 2017 is generous, with just Kobe, Nash, and Pau, this team will be lucky to get out of the 1st round after 2015.

      • Pushbroom

        PJ had them co’existing, remember this. Shaq wanted more $ and was a fat ass. IMO.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/MGM7T72G4GITVII3T25KWA63QM Kosty

        he is still the best player in the game when it comes down to it! you are completely retarded for agreeing with this article.. the man doesnt have a cane moron he just a couple months ago was averaging 30 ppg and just last month had 14 assists in 2 games. and on top of that he is the face of the lakers. dwight is injury prone as of late and has issues with his maturity. with kobe on the court you know you always have a chance to win. smh at you people for even thinking to do that

    • Yul B. Moore

      I agree I might consider this if it were Durant

  • Jose Ismael

    dwight over pau gasol then we can argue wisely and with sence but howard over kobe hum lets see howard orlando = 3 times defensive player = 0 championships so what do dwight will accomplish in LA kobe wil retired next season so if lakers want to trade some one then trade kobe if saying that howard should be over kobe well it didn’t happen so why this stupid article after the trade deadline

  • lakermike311

    Why even make this article, neither player is going anywhere

  • Jose Ismael

    look at kobe stats 2004-2005 to 2010-2011 kobe goes up in stat and shaquille goes down it’s obvious that kobe bryant maintain shaq stats high in the time they were playing together so kobe made shaq look good and shaq made kobe be not so good the stats don’t lie eh kobe was better than shaq since 99-00 remeber shaq didn’t win a championship after kobe become a full starter 99-00 so if kobe never had the chance to be a starter and maintain on the bench would shaq win those championships mi point of view fuck no

  • frantic

    this is stupid

  • http://www.facebook.com/dorothy.stratfordroeber Dorothy Stratford- Roeber

    Time for all you men (acting like children) to grow up and play basketball.


      5 is greater than 1.Kobe is the best player on the planet.The guy could have won 10 championships if he had the same supporting cast that MJ had. You guys do not know what you are talking about . Even today if the lakers can find their way to the playoffs, you will see a new reinvented team with their leader. O my God, how i missed Phil.Then, i forgot, we do not have a coach.Kobe is like MJ. I do believe that they both have the same parents.The media just lied to us.Kobe and MJ are brothers. Just kidding but this is heaven made. Please, we cannot even enter Dwight in the conversation. Even though he’s still young.Kobe all the way until he retires….. One more Kobe, please one more .For the sake of being who you are the BLACK MAMBA!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/lazarrea Alix Blackmamba Lazarre

    Kobe and Dwight are incomparable …first of Dwight is nothing like Kobe…Kobe had that killer instinct and let’s not forget he makes his free throws when count. If the lakers is going with Dwight over Kobe, they need to pair him with another star like a Lebron James or Chris Paul…there’s no way Dwight can carry the lakers to even 1 championship judging from his talentless skills.

  • LakerFan

    No way. Because if the Lakers do this to Kobe freaking Bryant, then what stops Dwight from thinking they’ll do the same to him?

  • http://twitter.com/Mini_Mamba Freddy J

    This is a dumb concept. The Lakers are Kobe Bryant/Magic Johnson. Shaquille O’Neal’s career was on a downward spiral (injuries, out of shape, etc.) Kobe is still playing high level ball and there is no way he would even play for another team. He has said that at this point in his career he will not be joining other teams just to chase a championship ala Gary Payton. Dwight Howard is not a person I would want to build my franchise around. You should never be an NBA GM with the insight that you showed by posting this ridiculous piece. SMDH!!


    If the Lakers trade Kobe… The Lakers will be the new Orlando Magic.

  • PraiseTheLord

    DANIEL BUERGE you got this one wrong! You do not ship your super star to impress your new guy like the bulls pushed jordan out!

  • Terrence

    This article was completely frivolous. Kobe has already said that he doesn’t see himself playing beyond his current contract. Maybe if their defending a title he’ll come back. So their games aren’t mixing well on the court right now? Wasn’t the whole point of Howard leaving Orlando to find a team with the players and strategy to win a championship. Shaq won his championships with a ball dominant wing in either Kobe or Dwade. Orlando gambled with Carter, but he just wasn’t the player they needed anymore. Howard’s never played in this style of offense and he’s only had 3/4 of a season to adjust, while dealing with injuries.

  • MJ-K

    Dumb and stupid post.. Howard is acting like freeking kide.. He can’t cary his shoulder !! Can he carry team!! No Way

  • Titan Carreon

    Kobe leaves. Lakers fans will leave as well.

  • Thirdy08

    I don’t think this article makes any sense. Trading Kobe over Howard is a suicide my friend. Howard spent several years in Orlando but never had any championship ring on his finger. Think about that! Kobe already prove himself and there’s no questions about it. He’s also willing to adjust just like what he’s doing right now passing the ball often to his team mates, facilitating the play. Isn’t a sign of maturity and doing things for the sake of team’s success? Being unselfish? Think twice my friend. Kobe is still playing with a high level of intensity. He can outscore even young superstars nowadays. He can still guard strong players such as Lebron (see all star game where he blocked him twice?) Furthermore, personality wise and vision? Howard is nothing with Kobe. Kobe has the championship spirit. Howard is still not matured enough to carry the whole team. He doesn’t have the quality of being a leader. (no offense to dwight coz I also like him as a center over other players). So if the management of Lakers will choose Dwight over Kobe, I don’t think its a wise decision.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nyuuk Gab Francisco Atanacio

    This is stupid. Kobe can never be traded. He is the face of this Lakers franchise in his era. It is only fitting if Kobe will RETIRE as a LAKER. Trading him would be a cheap move.

  • Normussestudillo

    If facing ultimatum the Lakers opt to choose Dwight Howard over Kobe Bryant then the Lakers will surely fail. Not only this year but years to come til the Lakers find another or similar to Kobe Bryant.


    Whaaaa? …get a clue… Howard is the future, but this can only be total, (*&^%$#@!)

  • http://twitter.com/maryimai Mary Imai

    you got this wrong. jerry did not pick kobe because he was younger than shaq. jerry picked kobe because he was kobe. he has what it takes to be a laker. determination, killer instinct, delication… if jerry was there, i dont think he would pick dwight howard over kobe. no freaking way. dwight howard does not seem to have what it takes to be a laker. not yet anyways.

  • Yul B. Moore

    Interesting theory but that won’t happen. Kobe and Dwight can play together. What Kobe is doing for Dwight will serve him well should he decide to stay a Laker. Kobe is only guilty of attempting to elevate Dwight’s mindset which is needed for him to reach the level he is capable of. All this talk about them not getting along is fueled by the need to get people to .call into the daily radio shows. it’s way overblown

  • roseducanna

    KOBE is the best player in the planet, and he is the best selfish in the planet too.If he play like MJ he can play until 2017.

  • http://www.facebook.com/charnene.smith Charnene Smith

    Keep Kobe!

  • roolthecool

    if kobe is let go, then 99 percent of lakers fan are too! :(