"What would the dream team look like"? There were no guarantees the Jim Buss "Extreme Makeover: Sweep Edition" would happen or what it would end up looking like, but we definitely got the chance to hear what other owners thought about it.
While Andrew Bynum has emerged as conceivably the best starting center any given night in the league, out of the gate this season, having enjoyed his healthiest season ever, it never escapes Laker fans' imagination of what a potential team with Dwight would look like, much less how it would have happened.
With the reports that a deal bringing Dwight to La-La Land to join budding superstars Kobe and Gasol (his reported wishlist to be a Laker) by 11:59 AM the morning of March 15, for Andrew Bynum, Steve Blake, and Ebanks, as a threat if Dwight did not sign "the papers" and accepted being the face and proverbial slave of Orlando and bypassing his opt-out clause (with Orlando coercing the would-be free agent with what the CBA and various other stars fought for in the first place, and thereby crushing the dreams of many Nets and Mavericks fans) and him refusing to come to the Lakers, one can only theorize how much a Chris Paul signing by the Lakers earlier in the season, would have weighed into the Dwight sweepstakes. If we are going by the notion that he stands to be the face of the franchise in New Jersey with Deron Williams (if the stars align for the Nets and not Dallas) as his sidekick to drive him the ball, why did he opt to stay in Orlando after this year? First of all, he suffers from a severe-subconscious form of the 'Stay-Lebron-Stay' mental trauma. It's weird I know. The Lebron case much unlike the Carmelo saga that dragged on for months, was vastly and worlds apart from actual perception and reality because Lebron R. James was from the area. And second of all, the guy is getting heckled by the former franchise predecessor in Shaq, whose shoes he would have had to fill. And without his implied approval, and assumed "his criticism will roll off my back" mentality, it would have been tough fight anyway. But let's assume for all intents and purposes that the allure of Chris Paul and Kobe running the show, would provide him with a parachute to come out of the West with the unending amount of mass-marketing opportunities at his disposal in a World-Class market. Most fans will contend that that was simply a dream, unreasonable and extremely hard to pull off. With the report that Orlando was already going to make the move but that Dwight shook it off, in favor of moving the chains in Mickey's house, let's assume we were somehow able to make the move but needed at least another PF to have a legitimate chance to win it all this season.
Dwight has been off-putting to say the least, but he's enjoying another defensively dominating year, single-handedly making his franchise once again relevant in what's been one of the toughest eastern conferences in years. He leads the league in overall defensive efficiency. 14 rebounds, and the next closest guy is Kevin Love who is just exactly 1 rebound shy of re-creating a rebounding duel for the ages. He is only 2,745 defensive rebounds behind Dikembe Mutombo after all, with enough years left to pass Kareem. And is already on pace to pass Elgin Baylor by 2015 at the age of 29. While Bynum has been above average offensively at 18.4 PPG, for third best among centers, just behind Al Jefferson and Dwight Howard, and also the second most efficient center in the league, one tenth more efficient than his consensus no.1 comparison, he has grown so much offensively, so much so, that it literally makes you forget the "two for one" Dwight Howard hat-trick he pulled in Orlando against the Lakers earlier in the season.
This is how it would have had to happen: First, Fisher probably would not have had to be moved. Mitch addressed and pulled trades at the deadline that were sheerly out of necessity: a backup C for Fisher, a PG for Walton, and we misfired on the Beasley deal. So it's only logic for anyone to assume Mitch would have pulled a trade for a better starting power-forward, likely forcing the addition of a third party to facilitate such a move. So in trading for Chris Paul by trading Pau Gasol, we would have traded for a PF. One move doesn't cancel another.
It would be Paul, Kobe, Peace, a new PF and Dwight Howard. There would not be any "twin towers" tandem and often underachieving Pau manning the paint anymore, you would begin attacking from the weak block with multiple screens for Chris and a watchful Kobe in a good position to score. Think of every Session's deficiency: covered and in steroids. Think of every Bynum defensive weakness: covered and juiced. There would have been the exact role reversal of what we're seeing now at worst, and at best minor problems, a change of scenery can often work for the best.
See, Dwight was already good as gone by 12:01 PM March 15, but by his own doing, chose not to come to L.A. That's one domino you can knock down (Paul is the first). And you already can begin engraving the Lakers into the annals of NBA champions for the next few years. Since Bynum, Blake, Ebanks and a 1st rounder would have been a done deal, we would have Paul, Kobe, Peace, a new PF, and Dwight. It wouldn't have necessitated any other CP3-related pieces to make the deal work, it was a done deal. I don't know who would have had to be traded, but we had a chunky TPE that Mitch would have put to good use, that I would bet you money he would use to get a new PF. It's not as hard as we're making it out to be, I once wrote a hypothetical 3 team trade where we traded Fisher and Nash, Rondo were moved as well, people laughed at me, now are eating crow, but that's neither here nor there. The point is, it goes to prove Mitch is one tough and smart cookie. Most fans in general only thought Luke Walton and Fisher would be moved when hell "hath frozen over". Well not true.
So with a new uptempo core of Paul, Kobe, Peace (assuming Beasley never got traded to L.A.), one new PF, and Dwight Howard you would have one outstanding future-proof franchise for Kobe Bryant to pass the throne to without as much as looking at, and kissing his rings on the way out. Two deals are easier to pull than multiple moving parts.. when you already have your point guard issues resolved, for the next 5 years until a new contract could come into play and a minor upgrade at the center spot. Understandibly, for reasons that bewilder minds and erase logic, fans are not having any part of that. Never underestimate the Lakers' front office.
How do I know this? Orlando were playing poker all along and actually did show interest in Bynum (that's unchanged as per the reports). And we had enough assets to reign in another PF, unless somebody can build a case saying otherwise. Meaning, we would have all of our bases covered. Meaning, yes, that fabled team was actually possible, until it effectively got erased like that gadget from the Men in Black series, only it actually did involve men in black, who felt empowered to demonstrate their disdain for the Lakers' front office genius.
I do subscribe to the idea that CP3 would have benefited Bynum more than he would benefit Kobe, and due to his sharp and pinpoint accurate passing, guys like Peace, and Kobe as well. The results would have been no more surprising than replacing the tread and wear of a roadster in need of new wheels. Derek Fisher would have had to move to the bench, but even he wouldn't bet against Jim at that juncture. It would not have been a team-tailor made to only, and only benefit Kobe. Not with CP3 it wouldn't. Fisher would have just had to muster up his pride and done his job as a backup, with Blake out of the picture and Morris more time to develop behind Chris and Fisher's mindful tutelage. CP3 would more than just feed Kobe, he would actually increase Bynum's touches and increase his production at a more rapid pace. Offense would be free-flowing and mental hiccups would be very few and far between. Between lobbing alley oop passes to Bynum the first half of the season to lobbing them to Dwight Howard the second, it would have been like winning the lottery twice in the same season. Mike Brown's job would be easier to assess: you have all of your weapons available, just pull the trigger. Unfortunately, all good things decidedly come to an end.
Let's not forget that in this theoretical "would-be" scenario had we managed to get Dwight, CP3 and Kobe in the same team, was in the F.O.'s plans so there is validity to believing it was possible. If your prayers were answered when Luke was traded, believe the "Magic" that the Lakers were willing to put it to work. The only reason that Jim Buss, Mitch and Jerry & CO's beautiful plan never got off running to align these stars that many are revving up to quickly say is a "dream scenario" is because you all are not them, you did not concoct that plan, and you did not "dream it up". It was foiled by a few greedy, Laker-hating owners who wanted no part of the Laker's brilliant financially (because we would have enough money to absorb Dwight/CP3's contract) responsible planning to pay them in the long run with a few tweaks here and there, coming in the mid-season and thereafter. In fact really one as a starter, since McRoberts would have had to be relocated to the bench where he should have stayed in the first place (not as a starter). Finances rule the NBA now and will play a bigger part in the future. So that "allegedly" "unrealistic "dream scenario" that wouldn't have happened would have to be pulled earlier for it to EVER happen based on sheer financial considerations and previous planning. Because you have to plan, before you delve into, and commit boatloads of money for future all-star caliber and potential H.o.F'er players.
It was now or never, for everyone involved directly or indirectly, and it never happened for reasons that have been discussed before, that are a waste of time bringing up again. Jim Buss would be vindicated, no longer called a Bynum-hog, and be cheered by fans everywhere he went, for rebuilding a team "on the fly" with no worries in the off-season, only to get stronger at that point. It was in his best interest to make a splashy entrance to please his Hollywood-highest-ticket paying crowd, and astound the NBA with his "obvious basketball savvy', that was "unknown". That's how well-planned that plan was. It was meant to have a true, Hollywood ending with Kobe tying or passing Jordan and Magic, while being financially flexible in the future.
But things happen for a reason. We already have a talented tandem up front, a very good trio when it wants to be with a supporting cast that needs to remember how hard it was to win the first championship, at least it needs to be conveyed to them, although it is not as "stellar" sounding as the "dream-team" scenario that is often pictured by fans. Andrew Bynum is balling out of his mind, he's playing absurd basketball, and that's something we have to look forward to as well as his growth and fitting his lion stripes for good measure. As well as a supporting cast in Kobe, Gasol and the like that we will have to run with for a few more weeks, and hopefully longer if they can finish the aforementioned Hollywood ending, with an alternative ending, a different cast, and still win the Oscar for best "mish-mosh" to ever win a championship if it ever happens.