Those who like me who value their sleep and are weary of all the Dwight Howard trade rumors, awoke to great news: the Dwight-mare is over ladies and gentlemen. Thursday night, news of a finalized, 4-team trade that will send the 3-time Defensive Player of the Year to Los Angeles to play alongside Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash broke.
The blockbuster deal at a glance goes as such: the Lakers will receive Howard, the Denver Nuggets will acquire Andre Iguodala, the 76ers will receive Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson, and the Magic will get Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Nikola Vucevic and one protected future first-round pick from each of the three teams.
But as we all know, in every trade, there are winners and there are losers.
Denver Nuggets: Lose 2014 first-round pick, Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington/Acquire Andre Iguodala
Winner or Loser? Winner
George Karl's open, up-tempo offense that specializes in the fast break and moving the ball just got a great piece in Iguodala. At 6'6/207 pounds, Iguodala can finish with authority at the rim, and is one of the NBA's most underrated defenders.
In a relatively productive offseason, the Knicks brought in quality role players such as Marcus Camby, Jason Kidd, and Ronnie Brewer to provide depth and effective minutes off the bench.
However, as the 2012 season approaches, there are still holes in the roster that require filling, one of those being who will back up forward Amare Stoudemire. With Jared Jefferies now in Portland, the power forward position for New York is looking like Stoudemire and 39-year-old Kurt Thomas.
Although Thomas has maintained a reputation of being one of the better defenders at his position throughout 17 NBA seasons, at this stage in his career, he offers next to nothing on the offensive side of the ball, and at his age, injury will always be a concern.
Enter 34-year-old, Kenyon Martin.
Still a valuable player after 12 years in the league, Martin would fit right in with the "No-Layup Rule" Knicks teams of the 90's. Tough, strong, and mean, Martin can give you 15-20 productive minutes a game with his versatility and physical play. He will go after rebounds, be a presence in the paint, and still has the ability to occasionally rise up and finish.
When news broke that Marcus Camby would be signing a three-year, $13 million contract to return for a second stint in New York, the reaction was noticeably divided. While many agree that Camby will be a welcome addition to the roster, some felt that the Knicks front office had lived up to their reputation of jumping the gun and overpaid for the 16-year veteran.
To complete the deal the Knicks agreed to a sign-and-trade sending Toney Douglas, Josh Harrelson, and Jerome Jordan to Houston along with their second round picks in 2014 and 2015. Now while at a glance this may seem like a steep price for a 38-year old center, look at the bigger picture.
During his time in Atlanta, Mike Woodson undoubtedly made the Hawks better. At the end of his six year tenure he finished with the fourth-best win total in franchise history, and led them to the playoffs in three of those seasons. When Woodson received the interim head coach tag in New York, he caught the attention of the fan base by demanding an improved defensive effort, and preached "accountability", something that many felt the roster was severely lacking. He even got All-Star forward, Carmelo Anthony, to buy in and play committed defense, who in turn ended up being the main reason the Knicks were able to salvage their season.
However, when news surfaced that the Knicks were in contract talks with Woodson during their first round match-up with the Miami Heat, it felt premature. Woodson brings plenty to the table, but the Knicks would be careless to overlook his shortcomings.