Bynum vs. Howard: Is Howard’s Back More of a Concern Than Bynum’s Knees?

All's quiet on the Western front when it comes to the ongoing saga between Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard and the Los Angeles Lakers, at least for now.

Howard's agent, Dan Fegan, recently announced that Howard still intended to explore free agency at the end of the 2012-13 season and he wouldn't be signing an extension regardless of who he was traded to.

Fegan's proclamation may have slowed down the Lakers' pursuit of Howard for the moment, or it could just be the quiet before the final storm.

Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak probably feels Howard could be convinced to stay in Los Angeles after soaking up the Hollywood environment for a season and playing the pick-and-roll offense with Steve Nash.

Or the Lakers could take a different approach and show some faith in Andrew Bynum, since he is younger than Howard, more skilled and Bynum is not the one facing a comeback from major surgery.

Bynum's shaky knees have garnered plenty of attention throughout his career, but in his first healthy season, albeit a short one, Bynum posted career-high numbers in nearly every important statistical category.

Most people would still consider Bynum a close second to Howard, but that may depend on how well Howard responds to surgery to repair a herniated disk in his back.

Maybe there needs to be a little more discussion about Howard's back, since the injury potentially affects the portion of Howard's game that makes him special.

The one edge Howard holds over Bynum and every other NBA player except LeBron James is ridiculous athleticism, but back injuries tend to rob a player of lateral mobility, lift and strength.

Just ask Tracy McGrady.

McGrady had the potential to be one of the greatest players the NBA has ever seen, but a slew of knee and back injuries put a halt to that theory.

The knee injuries robbed McGrady of hi...

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