"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" - George Santayana
Republican vs. Democrat. Pro-life vs. Pro-choice. Cubs vs. White Sox. You can't be in the middle, you gotta pick one, and you better be ready to defend your choice.
While two of the three mentioned above are more serious discussions and topics in the world today, the philosophy of whether the Chicago Bulls front office should make a run for Dwight Howard is one of the hotly debated topics in Chicago Sports today. With the Chicago Bears season ending to a screeching halt, the Blackhawks swimming themselves into a dark abyss, and both of Chicago's baseball teams starting the blueprints of rebuilding their franchises, the Chicago Bulls are number one in the hearts and minds of fans in the city of Chicago, analyzing (maybe over-analyzing) every adjustment they may do in their roster. It's understandable. The Chicago Bulls are the closest thing this city has to a championship, led by one of its sons, Derrick Rose.
Even the national media is torn whether the Bulls should make the move for Howard. NBA on TNT and Hall of Famer Charles Barkley says the Bulls should forget about chemistry and hinge on a Dwight Howard-Derrick Rose combination for the foreseeable future. In contrast, Around the Horn analyst, ESPNChicago.com columnist and widely respected voice for Chicago sports, Michael Wilbon believes a Dwight Howard trade would hurt the Bulls' depth since the price would require a King's ransom. Wilbon also cites the hardships the New York Knicks are currently living with their stars in Amare Stoudamire, Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler. Everyone's taking a side...
Me personally, ever since this debate started last off-season, I've been firmly against a Dwight Howard trade. If you look past Rose and Howard, there are too many unknown variables to consider. What makes this Chicago Bulls team so strong and why they're number one in the East is because of their depth. Mixing injuries and fatigue, depth plays a vital role for a team winning a title. Finally, chemistry is such an underrated attribute analysts and critics fail to value. The Chicago Bulls have 13 players (yes, including Carlos Boozer) who buy into Tom Thibodeau's system and values. Thibodeau's players buy into the system so much that bench players like Taj Gibson, C.J. Watson, Ronnie Brewer, and Kyle Korver can get upset at their coach for playing so sparingly however those players put the team over their personal endeavors.
However on Friday February 3rd, 2012, I had a change of heart...
Among countless debates between friends on this topic, I have heard every side with the exception of one, which I feel is the most important... history.
To prove this point, all you have to do is refer back to the history of the NBA then ask yourself, "has there been a time where a team traded for the best Center in the league AND it didn't work out?" I'll save you time and tell you the past.
Wilt Chamberlain - the Philadelphia 76ers traded the NBA's MVP for the past 3 consecutive years to the Los Angeles Lakers in 1968 in a major blockbuster trade. How did the Lakers fair with Chamberlain - Lakers won one championship with Chamberlain in 1972
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - the Milwaukee Bucks traded the NBA's MVP for the past 3 out 4 seasons to the Los Angeles Lakers in another blockbuster trade in 1975 for four of their own talented players. How did the Lakers fair with Jabbar - Lakers won 5 championships and personally for Jabbar, he won the MVP 3 more times.
Moses Malone - it's 1982 and since Houston was in rebuilding mode, they needed to unload the league's reigning MVP in Malone. Houston traded Malone to Philadelphia for Caldwell Jones and their 1st round pick. How did the 76ers fair with Malone - Philadelphia won a championship, though their last, in the first season after acquiring Malone. Personally for Malone, he won his second MVP, first season in Philadelphia in 1982.
Shaquille O'Neal - most of us can remember this one. The Lakers traded for Caron Butler, Lamar Odom, Brian Grant, and a future first round choice for O'Neal's services to Miami. How did the Heat fair with O'Neal - they won it all in 2006 beating the Dallas Mavericks in 6 games.
If that doesn't sell you, I don't know what will. In debating about sports, there are many things you can counter with; player contracts, chemistry, or strategy, anything. There is one category that you can't talk your way out of and that's history. Or at least that's what George Santayana says...