Dwight Howard Trade: Lakers, Magic, Sixers, Nuggets Get it Done
Thank God that it's over.
This is why some Laker fans put out every unrealistic trade scenario out there. Because Mitch Kupchak always does this.
It's the upgrade the Laker fans have been waiting for. But let's go over the entire deal.
*Lakers get Dwight Howard, Earl Clark, and Chris Duhon*
*Denver gets Andre Iguodala*
*Philadelphia gets Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson*
*Orlando gets Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Nikola Vukevic, Moe Harkless, Christian Eyenga, Josh McRoberts, 1st-round protected picks, and a grilled cheese sandwich*
As if the Lakers need upgrading on center. They went from second best to best in that position. Not only that but Dwight's forte is what the Lakers have been lacking: defense. In the second half of the season, a loafing Andrew Bynum and a more concentrated effort on offense put the Lakers down a notch on defense.
If Dwight brings his non-pouty attitude to the Lakers, he's an easy 20-20 guy and will alter the interior for opposing teams. Barring injuries, he's a surefire franchise-changer and will be the superstar of the future in Lakerland should he choose to stay in L.A. Bynum is capable of being a franchise-changer if he's willing to do it (and I think he'll get a rebirth in Philly). Sure, Dwight and Bynum are not going to sign extensions but right now, the talk is this season.
With a potential starting line-up of Steve Nash, Dwight, Pau Gasol (WHAT? HE'S STILL THERE?!), Metta World Peace, and some dude that wears #24, they have the best starting line-up in the league. This puts the Lakers IMMEDIATELY as one of the favorites to win the NBA championship after we said they're holding on for dear life at the end of Kobe's career.
By the way, what's an Earl Clark and a Chris Duhon? Oh, and Josh McRoberts? We hardly knew ya. Christian Eyenga... well, we still don't know you.
Being a franchise-changer is what Philadelphia is going to find out about Andrew Bynum. This is basically his team now. He can be the #1 option in a team lacking a pure #1 option. Their leading scorer last season was the recently departed Lou Williams, who didn't even average 15 points a game. Now in Bynum, they can easily have a 20-10 guy and he'll give fits to the opposing teams' frontline. You know, if he wants to bring it. Richardson will bring in some more scoring punch that the Sixers lacked but I'm not big on his contract. The Sixers were one win away from getting to the conference finals. Not sure if they get farther next season but with Bynum there, they're sure to be intriguing.
Denver gets some perimeter defense in Iguodala. They have enough scoring as is (the Nuggets led the league) so any defense is welcome for the Nuggets. He'll fill in the hole Afflalo leaves but he's going to be fun on the break and a demon on the defensive end. He's likely not going to put them over the top in a very tough Western Conference but Denver's going to be fun to watch.
As for Orlando... I question this.
They got neither all-star in this return. If they wanted a quicker return to prominence and some pieces in place, getting Bynum back or even Iguodala would've been nice. And they can flip them later if they don't want them.
So we understand this: they want to suck. And suck badly. But I'm not sure if this is the best (worst?) package. I think Afflalo is a very good player (averaged a career-high 15.2 PPG last season) but I'm not sure if he's a good enough asset if they don't wanna keep his long contract around. I guess Vukevic and some picks (but they couldn't get them unprotected?!) are nice. Harkless is the #15 pick of last year's draft so he'll get to show his stuff. Al Harrington is just there to fill in some buckets. Josh McRoberts and Christian Eyenga will provide blowout dunks. Basically, I felt they had better deals before this one came along. This team COULD suck enough to get a chance at the first pick but I don't think this team is as bad as Charlotte was last season (but what do I know?!).
But then again, while Dwight Howard treated the franchise like crap, the Magic didn't know how to handle him, either, as they did everything they could to please the guy. Now both Stan Van Gundy and Howard are gone. The Finals team from 2009 (who, by the way, lost to the Lakers) is nothing more than a distant memory that seemed like 20 years ago instead of 3. Your Orlando Magic starring Arron Afflalo, J.J. Redick, Jameer Nelson, Hedo Turkoglu and Big Baaaayyy-beh (the Magic couldn't get rid of any of those players?!)!
I guess the most important thing for the Magic is that Dwight is gone.
Let's revisit this part for the Lakers once again: Pau Gasol, who had been rumored for the last year that he was going to be traded, is STILL a Laker.
I'll say this: you do a trade with the Lakers (hi, Steve Nash trade), you're likely not going to win against them. Orlando was hoping for a sushi platter out of this Dwight deal (I thought Houston and Brooklyn had better deals) and they're only walking away with a few chicken nuggets from McDonald's.
Mitch Kupchak does it again.