Saturday , Jan , 15 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant in LA?

All of Orlando has seen this haunting movie before. The Magic know what’s out there, too. They’re aware of the rumbles in circulation that Howard secretly longs to make the same cross-country trek to Los Angeles that Shaquille O`Neal mapped out in 1996, with one source close to the situation insisting that Howard and Lakers star Kobe Bryant are far closer pals than people realize.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: We’ve seen this before. Franchise post leaves the Orlando Magic, signs with the Los Angeles Lakers, and wins multiple championships next to Kobe Bryant.

Technically, Dwight Howard is a ways away from pulling a Shaq-Fu and leaving the Magic as a free agent –the big man can exercise an option on his contract in July of 2012.

However, the rumors and rumblings were loud enough for the Magic to initiate two blockbuster trades last month, acquiring Gilbert Arenas, Jason Richardson, and Hedo Turkoglu.

Will the combo guard formerly known as The Hibachi, J-Rich, and Turkoglu appease Howard?

After all, Howard loves the spotlight. He loves flashing his pearly white teeth for the cameras and busting jokes for reporters. Unfortunately, Orlando is small; so small he can’t maximize endorsements and get another legit superstar to join him.

Without a premier wing-man, Howard has little shot at a championship in Orlando. He needs help; really good help to beat the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat in a seven-game, do-or-die series.

Howard knows this, so leaving Orlando for a major market like New York or Los Angeles remains a possibility. Of course, the Knicks have Amar`e Stoudemire, while the Lakers have Kobe Bryant.

For personal and professional reasons, Howard would prefer Los Angeles. He and Bryant are friends, and would form a deadly inside-outside combination. A Howard-Stoudemire pairing sounds enticing, but could be awkward.  

In the coming months, there will be more talk of Howard joining Bryant in Los Angeles. Orlando can quiet the talk and re-sign their superstar by winning a championship.

–Oly Sandor.

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