Rand: Sometimes good players wind up being bad fits with their teams

  • Updated: February 8, 2013 - 6:57 AM

Some great players change teams and do nothing but grate; others get hurt or inexplicably founder.

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Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, right, chats with center Dwight Howard.

Photo: Mark J. Terrill, Associated Press - Ap

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Dwight Howard playing for the Lakers, which at one time sounded like the greatest idea ever and a sure-fire path to another Kobe Bryant championship ring, is instead proving to be one of the worst ideas ever. Howard is hurt. He is at odds over that shoulder injury with Bryant. When he's played, he's put up numbers below his recent averages with Orlando. And the Lakers? Well, they're below .500, which doesn't scream NBA title contender. Sometimes good players wind up being terrible fits, and Howard is hardly the only example. With the help of some co-workers and Twitter followers, we compiled a list of eight others who fit that criteria:

LOCAL

• Herschel Walker with the Vikings: He was supposed to be the final piece to a winning Super Bowl puzzle. And he was ... for the Cowboys, who received quite a haul in their lopsided trade with the Vikings, who are still searching for that first title.

• Tommy Herr with the Twins: Tom Brunansky hit 32 dingers for the 1987 World Series champions. Early in 1988, he was traded for Herr, who finished with 304 at-bats in a Twins uniform; as a second baseman, power wasn't his thing. But it's notable that he only hit one homer.

• Carl Pavano with the Yankees: Before he was a veteran godsend for the 2010 Twins, he was the ultimate free agent bust. He parlayed an 18-victory season with the Marlins in 2004 into a four-year deal worth nearly $40 million with the Yankees. He was hurt for much of his tenure and made only 26 starts, winning nine games.

• Randy Moss with the Raiders (and the Vikings the second time): As sad as Vikings fans were to see Moss go after the 2004 season, the trade didn't exactly work out for Oakland. Moss, in his prime, averaged only 51 catches in two years with Oakland. And when he returned to Minnesota in 2010? Well, let's not talk about that.

NATIONAL

• Albert Haynesworth with the Redskins: Haynesworth was a first-team All-Pro with the Titans in 2007 and 2008, a beast to deal with on the field. He went to Washington and was an All-Pro pain, a beast to deal with off the field.

• Barry Zito with the Giants: He is entering the final year of a seven-year, $126 million deal with the Giants. In his first six years? 58-69 with a 4.47 ERA after going 102-63 in seven years across the bay with the Athletics.

• Grant Hill with the Magic: He was one of the best players in the world with the Pistons. Then he was dealt to Orlando as part of a trade for Ben Wallace and became one of the most injury-plagued players in the world for the Magic. Meanwhile, Wallace helped Detroit win a championship in 2004.

• Carl Crawford with the Red Sox: Boston swiped him from the rival Rays off the free agent market after the 2010 season; less than two years later, they couldn't wait to unload him on the Dodgers after things didn't work out.

MICHAEL RAND

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