09 August 2012

Dwight Howard to the Lakers

It's looking like Dwight Howard will be shipped out of Orlando and follow in Shaquille O'Neal's footsteps in heading to the Lakers, as per Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski, who reported just minutes ago that a major four-team deal is being finalized as we speak and giving the Lakers a core of Kobe Bryant, recently-acquired Steve Nash, Pau Gasol, who is not being moved, and Howard.

The Philadelphia 76ers and the Denver Nuggets were also corraled into this blockbuster as the trade will send Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson to Philadelphia, Andre Igoudala will be sent to Denver with the Magic receiving Aaron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Nikola Vucevic, rookie Moe Harkless and three first round selections.

Obviously the big winners of this deal are the Lakers, without question. They upgrade from Bynum, a really good center with some clear maturity issues, to Howard and they did not have to gut their roster at all to do it, namely being able to hold onto Gasol. Now with a starting five of Nash-Bryant-Metta World Peace/Antawn Jamison-Gasol-Howard, that is a club that is ready to go to war with the Thunder and the Spurs in the West.

The 76ers score a victory in this deal as well as they had been dangling Igoudala for a big man and they got a potential star in Bynum, who can get to great territory if he has his head on straight, something that is easier said than done. They had plenty of wing guys but not enough post players and now come away a more balanced club that could do a fair amount of damage in an average Eastern Conference.

Denver gets the stud on the wing that they have been craving in Igoudala, who was really good last season in Philadelphia. His versatility and more importantly his defensive skill will be welcomed on a deep Denver club that can score very well and will not need Iggie to be the lead scorer like the 76ers needed.

The clear losers are the Magic and it really is not that close. The best player they receive in this deal is Afflalo, a quality two guard but nothing the club can build around as he is a strong complementary player on a contender, not a centerpiece. Vucevic has some nice potential as a post player and I really like Harkless but this return for dealing Howard really is not that much more than underwhelming. The draft picks are nice but will be, in all likelihood, in the bottom half of the first round, where you struggle to find much more than role players. I understand they needed to get the rebuilding process up and running but I feel they could have tried to get a little more in return for Howard. But then again, they really needed to get rid of Howard just for the sake of moving on thanks to his moody distractions so who knows, maybe this will work out for the better.

But at the very least, the Lakers will still be title contenders once again thanks to the shrewd moves of Mitch Kupchak, considering most thought the Lakers' days to shine were coming to a dawn as Kobe got older.

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