Sometimes you have to tip your hat and sometimes you have to shake your head. And sometimes you get to do both at the same damn time, especially if the L.A. Lakers are involved in a trade.
After months of speculation, rumors, and false reports Dwight Howard was finally traded to the Lakers in a 4-team blockbuster deal reported by ESPN Thursday night.
The specifics shake out like this:
The Lakers get Dwight Howard, Earl Clark, and Chris Duhon from the Magic.
The Philadelphia 76′ers get Andrew Bynum from the Lakers and Jason Richardson from the Magic.
The Denver Nuggets get Andre Iguodala
The Orlando Magic get Aaron Afflalo and Al Harrington from the Nuggets, Moe Harkless and Nikola Vucevic from the 76′ers, Christian Eyenga and Josh McRoberts from the Lakers. The Magic have also acquired five additional draft picks over the next five years. Orlando receives: a second round pick from Denver in 2013, a first round pick from either Denver or New York in 2014, a conditional first round pick from Philadelphia and a conditional second round pick from the L.A. Lakers in 2015, and a conditional first round pick from the L.A. Lakers in 2017.
Quickly tip your hat to the Lakers (they have done it again), 76′ers, and Nuggets but you might need a few moments to dwell on this unfathomable move by the Magic…I know I did. The expedience at which this deal was consummated and agreed upon is what has most baffled. The deal was rumored early in the day to be gaining steam with some vastly different parts going to Orlando and L.A. before it simply crashed through the doors of Twitter in the above mentioned form later in the evening.
Originally the deal had Pau Gasol going to the Magic and Harrington winding up as a Laker alongside Howard. Obviously competitive balance would be vastly different if L.A. had to give up both Gasol and Bynum but Laker’s GM, Mitch Kupchak, snookered the young GM in Orlando and kept the Spaniard in purple and gold.
Let’s take a brief look at how this now shakes out for all the teams involved.
The Lakers have easily vaulted to 1B in the Western Conference alongside the Oklahoma City Thunder. Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Gasol and Howard are as good a starting 5 as a team can boast in the NBA. Kobe is reportedly “giddy” about the changes in L.A. and making wild proclamations about how this team could beat some of the best “championship” teams in history. They will have to settle with trying to beat the Thunder in the West and then trying to unseat the Miami Heat as champions. Neither are guarantees despite Mr. Bryant’s approval and giddyness but the the Lakers are very scary heading into next season.
The 76′ers have undoubtedly moved up in the East with Orlando, Atlanta, and Chicago taking steps back. They are probably looking at a top 4 or 5 seed now fielding a starting lineup of Jru Holiday, Evan Turner, Jason Richardson, Spencer Hawes or Lavoy Allen, and Bynum. Head Coach Doug Collins should do wonders for Bynum both on and off the court. Collins is a phenomenal teacher and true professional who could get Bynum to turn the corner towards stardom in this league. Philly will miss Iguodala but he was never going to be someone they could build around and Bynum is (or at least he should be).
The Denver Nuggets shed the salary of Harrington but lose the budding Afflalo. Iguodala will fit in nicely in George Karl’s uptempo offense and brings a even better defensive pedigree than Afflalo did. Iggy is currently on the USA Olympic team and being around that talent this summer is sure to make him better going into next season. He will probably have to play shooting guard as Afflalo did which isn’t his natural position but he will be able to make it work. Denver’s starting lineup looks to be Ty Lawson, Iguodala, Danilo Gallanari, Kenneth Faried, and JaVale McGee. Not too shabby in the star studded West.
As for the Orlando Magic this is the beginning of their rebuilding period. They said for months they wanted to get younger, cut salary and get multiple draft picks in any deal involving Howard. Translation, they wanted to suck and rebuild. That mission is accomplished but how they allowed any of the picks they received in the deal to be protected is beyond asinine.
On the bright side, Afflalo is a solid ball player who will slide right into the starting shooting guard position. Their starting lineup is likely to be Jameer Nelson, Afflalo, Hedo Turkgolu, Harrington, and Glen Davis. That is not quite as bad as the Charlotte Bobcats but that’s not saying much…so much for selling out that new arena on a nightly basis.
Getting rid of the contracts of Duhon and Richardson should be considered a conservative win in the wake of losing Howard but they are still stuck with Turkgolu. The irony in that is Turkgolu was only brought back to appease Howard (head shaking recommencing).
All that can really be said in this is that Howard and the Lakers make out like bandits despite the fact Howard behaved like a spoiled child for the better part of a year. L.A. has bounced back from the “basketball reasons” vetoed trade of Chris Paul in December to laugh at the rest of the league after obtaining Nash, Howard, and Antwan Jamison this off-season.
Apparently there really was no point to the lockout. The rich get richer and I tip my hat and shake my head at the same damn time.
About the Author
Written by Warren Shaw
I am an avid Basketball fan who has worked for the New York Knicks, Alonzo Mourning Charities and various other sports organizations. Having covered many NBA and various professional sporting events has given me the opportunity to provide insight with an unbiased but flavor driven view. I look forward to providing NBA content and interacting with knowledgeable fans and readers. Follow me on Twitter @shawsports or Email your questions to me at Warrenshaw@prosportsblogging.com