Is Andrew Bynum the Lakers’ Best Option If Dwight Howard Leaves?

The Dwight Howard sweepstakes has reached the critical stages, and according to ESPN's Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne, things don't look too good for the Los Angeles Lakers.

It's possible that the Lakers have fallen as far as fourth in Howard's pecking order for potential destinations, and even though he is notoriously indecisive, the Lakers should prepare for the worst.

According to the same article, Los Angeles is reportedly considering sign-and-trade deals for Howard in an attempt to salvage something if Howard signals that he will not re-sign.

Previously, the Lakers were against a sign-and-trade deal for Howard because they wanted to pay as little as possible in taxes under the NBA's punitive new collective bargaining agreement. They also wanted to keep cap space clear in anticipation of the free-agent class in the summer of 2014.

Los Angeles has shown no panic in their resolve throughout the process so far, and they shouldn't panic now. If Howard wants to walk, they should let him walk and avoid taking on any cumbersome contracts in a sign-and-trade.

The summer of 2014 should be significant for the Lakers since the only player presumably under contract at that time will be Steve Nash. In the interim, maybe the Lakers should consider bringing Andrew Bynum back into the fold.

It may seem crazy to think of Bynum returning to Los Angeles, but distance lends perspective, and despite Bynum's reluctance to work out for teams that are thinking about signing him, he must be taking an inventory of where his career stands now.

The prospects of Bynum signing a max-deal are history, and the Philadelphia 76ers decision to trade for rookie Nerlens Noel confirms that they have little interest in re-signing Bynum either.

However, that doesn't mean that no one is willing to take a chance on the highly talented but oft-injured and immature center.

As reporte...

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