Dwight Howard has finally been traded from the Orlando Magic as part of a 4-team blockbuster sending him to the Los Angeles Lakers and a bunch of other players elsewhere.
The Lakers got Howard as well as Chris Duhon and Earl Clark from Orlando. The Magic received Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Moe Harkless, Nikola Vucevic, Josh McRoberts and Christian Eyenga as well as some future draft picks. Denver received Andre Iguodala and Philadelphia got Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson.
Howard heading to L.A. surely headlined this trade but it wasn’t the only important part of the trade.
Here’s a breakdown of the four teams involved with the trade:
Los Angeles Lakers
We might as well start with Howard’s destination, L.A. The Lakers did it again here, snagging the top center in the league to remain relevant. They did so by only having to give up Andrew Bynum and somehow hanging on to Pau Gasol.
The Lakers have now acquired Howard and Steve Nash in one summer and will strut out a starting lineup with them, Gasol and Kobe Bryant. They’ve immediately put themselves into the NBA title conversation with what many are calling the best starting five in the NBA now.
The Lakers got everything they wanted here and more. Pairing Nash and Howard will make for one of the more deadly pick-and-rolls in NBA history, even at Nash’s age. Throw in Gasol who should get an appropriate amount of touches with Nash handling the rock and Kobe at a point in his career, ready to sacrifice even more to win and the Lakers look better than ever.
They may or may not be favored to make it to the NBA Finals but that doesn’t really matter. They are now in position to match up much better with the West’s biggest competition, the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Howard has said he wants to test out free agency next summer but still, the Lakers should be able to hang on to him long-term. They can offer him an extra year and $20 million more on his contract and after a year in L.A., it seems very unlikely he’d want to bolt.
Howard is said to likely not be ready for the start of the season, still nursing his ailing back but that’s not a problem for the Lakers at all.
The Magic waited a pretty long time before finally dealing Howard. The idea was that they were holding out for a really good package and would keep him as long as possible, maybe even through the trade deadline of next season.
It was more than surprising to see the kind of deal Orlando made out with here. The package of young talent and picks they are getting isn’t as good as the one Houston had been offering them. They didn’t want to deal with Houston though only because the Rockets wouldn’t take on enough of their bad contracts apparently.
Afflalo and Harrington are basically pointless and they couldn’t even get Gasol out of the deal, whether they wanted to keep him or not they could have easily traded him somewhere for something.
They aren’t screwed with guys like Afflalo and Harrington now and it is clear that new GM Rob Hennigan wants to try and emulate what the Thunder did, bottoming out and drafting high for three years in a row. Good luck with that finding the next Durant-Westbrook-Harden trio in the next three drafts.
Denver is very happy with what they did in this trade, besides allowing the Lakers to acquire Howard, which in the long run may have made this a bad move by them.
But getting Iguodala while parting ways with Afflalo and Harrington is a big upgrade for them. Iguodala will fit in perfectly with what they’re doing over there. As an athletic wing and defensive stopper, Iguodala will thrive in Denver’s up tempo offense and give them something they were missing on defense.
Denver was going to be a playoff team next year and now become that much better. They have a legitimate shot at getting to a 4-5 seed in the West and there’s nothing wrong with that at all.
The 76ers are also very happy getting Bynum here as hard as it was to say goodbye to Iguodala, who gave them so much over the past eight years. Bynums don’t come around too often and upgrading to the second-best center in the league is a big move for Philly, especially since they’re in the East.
Bynum will be a very tough matchup for any team in the East, including the Miami Heat. No one’s saying they are going to compete with the Heat now but they definitely took a step closer.
They were a 7-9 seed team with Iguodala as their best player and Bynum will raise that ceiling. They should be right there with Indiana, Boston and Chicago now.
There is a chance Bynum won’t work out perfectly though. He’s a knucklehead and has had some big injury concerns in the past. But Philly had to take this chance. Bynum was a first-time All-Star last season and now in a place where he can get 20-plus shots a night, might blossom even more.
Oklahoma City Thunder
We have to include the Thunder in this trade because they are very much affected too, along with the rest of the league. OKC looked to have the West locked up for the next five years easily but now they are being questioned as the favorites in the conference.
The Lakers definitely upgraded and should be highly touted but the Thunder aren’t making any lateral moves next year either. They expect to improve simply from the invaluable experience they gained after an NBA Finals trip as well as adding some bodies to the rotation like Eric Maynor and Perry Jones.
Howard is scary to a lot of teams but the Thunder actually have a guy who can match Howard’s physicality in Kendrick Perkins. Yes, Perkins is now relevant again. It looked like the league might have been shifting to small ball but not so fast. Perkins is exactly what the Thunder need to contend with Howard next season.
The Thunder actually matchup well with the Lakers elsewhere too. Serge Ibaka can keep up with Gasol, Westbrook is a nightmare for Nash on defense and no one is slowing down Kevin Durant.
It was never going to get easier to win titles and this trade is an example of that.
Tags: Andre Iguodala Andrew Bynum Denver Nuggets Dwight Howard Kendrick Perkins Kevin Durant Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Oklahoma City Thunder Orlando Magic Pau Gasol Philadelphia 76ers Russell Westbrook Serge Ibaka Steve Nash