The Madeleine Brand Show

The Madeleine Brand Show is a daily, two-hour program that looks at news and culture through the lens of Southern California. Hosted by Madeleine Brand

Lakers expecting to get their "new Shaq" and other sports news

by The Madeleine Brand Show

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Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic slam dunks over possible future Lakers teammate Kobe Bryant in Game Three of the 2009 NBA Finals. Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

LA Laker fans still celebrating the recent acquisition of All-Star guard Steve Nash can keep smiling.

All-Star center Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic appears headed for Los Angeles as part of a four-team, eight-player deal.

The deal is expected to be finalized today.

KPCC's A Martinez says the Lakers want Howard because he's the best center in the NBA. Howard often draws comparisons to former Laker Shaquille O'Neal -- another player with a giant frame and personality to match.

That begs the question: why would the Magic give up Howard?

Martinez says that the Magic knew they were going to lose Howard anyway because he threatened to leave when he became a free agent at the end of this season.

With Howard, the Lakers get a "massive defensive presence" and someone who can act as the "face of the franchise" when 34-year-old star Kobe Bryant retires, Martinez says.

In other major sports news, Brazil and Mexico are facing off in the Olympics men's soccer finals Saturday.

Mexico has never been in the Olympic men's soccer finals or the World Cup finals. Brazil, has won five World Cup trophies, but never nabbed gold at the Olympics.

Martinez says the Olympics clearly aren't as important to Brazil as the World Cup. Brazil sent its B team to London - young men being groomed for the World Cup.

A Mexico win would be huge in southern California, where the team -- also known as El Tricolor -- has a huge fan base. Martinez says Team USA does not even schedule games against Mexico in LA because El Tricolor's is so much more popular.


KPCC's A Martinez

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