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Dwight Howard Traded to the Lakers

by Photo of Ross Bernhardt

In a four-team trade, LA gets Howard, Orlando gets players and picks, Philly nets Andrew Bynum, and Denver gets Andre Iguodala.

Dwight Howard Traded to the Lakers

Excuse the lame/overused lede, but the "Dwightmare" is now officially over.  Dwight Howard will be dealt to the Los Angeles Lakers as part of a four-team blockbuster trade that involves 12 players and five draft picks.  Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski confirmed that the deal was officially approved by the league.

Here's what each team will receive as part of the trade:

  • The Los Angeles Lakers receive Dwight Howard, Chris Duhon, and Earl Clark from Orlando.
  • The Orlando Magic receive Aaron Afflalo and Al Harrington from Denver, Josh McRoberts and Christian Eyenga from Los Angeles, Nikola Vucevic and Moe Harkless from Philadelphia, three protected future first-round draft picks (one each from LA, Denver, and Philadelphia) and two second-round picks.
  • The Philadelphia 76ers receieve Andrew Bynum from Los Angeles and Jason Richardson from Orlando.
  • The Denver Nuggets receive Andre Iguodala from Philadelphia.

When you look at that and think about what each of those teams has already done this summer, the clear winner is Los Angeles.  Their core now consists of Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, and Pau Gasol.  It's amazing to think that Los Angeles acquired the best center in the league and didn't have to give up Gasol, but it happened.  

Howard is an upgrade over Bynum, and as SI's Sam Amick notes, they will have his Bird Rights and be able to offer him more money once free agency comes next season.  Los Angeles is a championship contender right now as a result of this trade, even though this will definitely be a different team from stylistically than past Lakers teams.  With a true point guard running the helm (something they haven't had with Derek Fisher), Howard and Gasol could truly thrive in the post and open up new possibilities for their offense.  And with Gasol's ability to step out, a Gasol/Howard pick-and-roll would just be devastating. 

Orlando now has a lot of financial flexibility and promising young (and cheap) talent in Nikola Vucevic and Moe Harkless, but received neither Andrew Bynum nor Andre Iguodala, the two best pieces in the deal behind Howard.  It's unclear whether Bynum would have wanted to stay in Orlando, and Iguodala's contract was probably undesirable for new GM Rob Hennigan, but without one of those chips in return the team has a bunch of pieces with not much to look forward to.

I understand the logic that you have to get something in return for Howard, since losing him for nothing is just that.  But what they got in return really doesn't solve anything for Orlando.  Harkless has potential, as does Vucevic, but the other pieces are role players of various pedigrees.  The draft picks they received won't offer much help since will be late first round selections, so they will really have to hit on their own picks and hope their young players pan out.  Otherwise, it could get ugly.

The Nuggets and 76ers both came out on the right side of their deals.  Denver shed the contracts of Harrington and Afflalo and picked up one of the elite perimeter defenders in the league.  Iguodala fits almost perfectly into Denver's system, and he should fit right in alongside Ty Lawson, Danilo Gallinari, and Wilson Chandler.

Philadelphia gets their big man with Bynum and a skilled veteran guard in Richardson.  Bynum brings a totally new dimension to the team, and it will be interesting to see how Doug Collins adjusts with a talented big now in the mix.  Philly can do a lot more things offensively and defensively now (albeit without the great perimeter defense Iguodala provided), and they should be in the mix in the Eastern Conference.

All the trade talk surrounding Howard is finally over, but with his arrival in Los Angeles, the league's Dwightmare might just be beginning.

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