|Dwight Howard, the newest Laker|
Along with Howard, Andrew Bynum and Andre Igudoala were involved in the trade. Here is what all the teams received:
Dwight Howard, C (ORL)
Chris Duhon, PG (ORL)
Earl Clark, SF (ORL)
Arron Afflalo, SG (DEN)
Al Harrington, PF (DEN)
Nikola Vucevic, C (PHI)
Moe Harkless, SF (PHI)
Christian Eyenga, SG (LAL)
Josh McRoberts, SF (LAL)
A protected 1st round pick from all 3 teams.
Andrew Bynum, C (LAL)
Jason Richardson, SG (ORL)
Andre Iguodala, SF (PHI)
Lets start with a team by team breakdown:
Los Angeles- The Lakers have instantly become arguably the best team in the West. They have been pursuing Howard for along time and finally have him. Howard is an upgrade over Bynum and this team is now, in my opinion, the best team in the West over Oklahoma City. But, sources close to Howard are saying he will play out the year without an extension. It is critical the Lakers make the Western Conference Finals, at least, to keep him in LA. But when your starting lineup is what is listed below, anything but an NBA Championship is a disappointment.
C- Dwight Howard
PF- Pau Gasol
SF- Metta World Peace
SG- Kobe Bryant
PG- Steve Nash
The Lakers also now have depth on the bench. Jordan Hill is a great 6th man and Antwan Jamison is a veteran backup. This team is set to contend, and can you imagine and Lakers-Heat Finals next year? Four of the five best players in the NBA on the court. That would be a treat.
EDIT: Lakers also received Earl Clark and Chris Duhon from Magic, and sent Christian Eyenga and Josh McRoberts to Orlando.
Orlando- Orlando knew they were not getting a star in return for Howard, and they would need to start rebuilding. But they picked up three great players. Aaron Afflalo is one of the more underrated players in the league and is a younger, better player then Jason Richardson was for the Magic. Nikola Vucevic burst on to the scene last season and was very good for Philadelphia. But with Bynum coming to the Sixers, Philly could let him Vucevic go. The Magic got a player with good potential moving forward.
Al Harrington is a decent backup to throw in, but could just be bought out. They also got a heap load of first rounders that they were going after. One from each team, though they might not be very high ones. A player many are not talking about is Moe Harkless. He was selected 15th overall in the draft last June out of St. Johns, and many think he was a top 10 talent. I am surprised the 76ers let him go, especially with Iggy leaving too.
It would be hard to find a much better deal for the Magic, besides maybe getting Brook Lopez from the Nets. And some still may disagree with this trade being good. But I think they got a good return for Howard, and they may even have a chance to contend for a low seed this year.
EDIT: Magic also acquired Christian Eyenga and Josh McRoberts from Lakers, while sending Chris Duhon and Earl Clark to LA.
Philadelphia- Philadelphia needed a big man, but they probably didn't expect the likes of Andrew Bynum to be starting for them this October. Bynum is a top center in the league and is only 24. He averaged 18.7 ppg last season along with 11.8 rebounds. Only Howard and Al Jefferson had more.
They also landed Jason Richardson, who can add scoring behind Evan Turner and Nick Young.
With the loss of Iguodala, they loose one of the best defensive players in the league. And by letting Harkless leave, only have Thaddeus Young to fill in at SF. Young is good, don't get me wrong but is not a defender. With the likes of Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner, Nick Young and Thaddeus Young, along with Jason Richardson, this team will compete with Golden State to be the leagues best scoring team. Not to mention Bynum will average a double-double. The 76ers are the best team in the Atlantic now, but this tough division is anyones with the Celtics, Nets, and Knicks all close behind.
Denver- Denver got a good deal here too. Andre Iguodala, who is currently in London playing for the Olympic team, adds the defensive player they have been looking for, and loosing Afflalo won't be so bad with Ty Lawson, Wilson Chandler, and Danilo Gallinario still there. First round pick Quincy Miller also could easily end up a starter this season too. The Nuggets didn't improve much, but still got better.
Overall, I do and don't like this trade. I do like that all teams got better, and two smaller market teams in Philly and Denver improved. But I don't like how the Lakers now could be the best team in the NBA again. Enough already. I understand the history they have, but I really wish new teams would emerge and change up the NBA. In the last 13 years, the NBA Finals have had either the Lakers, Heat, Spurs, or Celtics in every single one. Every single Finals the last 13 years. And with this trade that does not seem to be ending anytime soon.
If some new teams don't emerge soon, the NBA could be in trouble. Aside from Oklahoma City, no other teams in small markets have a real chance at the Finals this year. The other contending teams play in Miami, New York, Brooklyn, Chicago (with Rose healthy), and two in Los Angeles. The Spurs are done, and Celtics are too for awhile.
Both the Spurs and Thunder show that small market teams have to build from the draft. Big name players won't go there in free agency. In MLB and NFL this stuff does not happen. And that is why the NBA is headed for trouble.
Maybe this trade will be vetoed and restructured to smaller teams. I would secretly cheer inside. It is one of the only good things David Stern seems to be doing, trying to prevent big name players from teaming up in big media markets.
But if the trade does go through, the Lakers are back, again, and the fans in Cleveland, Minnesota, Portland, Phoenix, Toronto, Milwaukee, and Utah are still in the same spot again this season.