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.
Last year, Iguodala held SG counterparts to 9.9 pts per 36 minutes on 40% shooting. Or, turned them into Keyon Dooling.
— Tom Haberstroh (@tomhaberstroh) August 9, 2012
He will no doubt help improve a Denver defense that ranked 20th last season. They also shed Harrington's contract which will help in next year's free agency.
Philadelphia 76ers: Lose 2015 first-round pick, Andre Iguodala, Nikola Vucevic/Acquire Andrew Bynum, Jason Richardson
Winner or Loser? Winner
For a Philly team that was about to head into the season with Kwame Brown at center, this is a great upgrade. Bynum is a 24-year-old All-Star with massive upside who is the second best center in the league. Although Bynum caused plenty of headaches in Los Angeles with his immaturity, there is hope for him under the tutelage of coach Doug Collins who if nothing else, is a man of character. Richardson also brings his ability to hit the 3-pointer to a team that struggled to hit shots from deep in the postseason.
Los Angeles Lakers: Lose 2017 first-round pick, Andrew Bynum/Acquire Dwight Howard, Earl Clark, Chris Duhon
Winner or Loser? Winner
Since throwing their hat into the ring for Howard, few people could see a scenario where Orlando would let the best center in the league go to Los Angeles for a package not including Bynum and Pau Gasol. Although acquiring of the duo would not completely cancel out the loss of a currently top 5 player, it would help the Magic stay relevant in the Eastern Conference. But from a combination of Mitchell Kupchak's shrewdness and Orlando simply waiting too long to deal the disgruntled All-Star, options dried up and Howard is now on his way to Los Angeles. With a core of Bryant, Nash, and now Howard, the Lakers are an even more serious threat to Oklahoma City, and once again legitimate title contenders.
Orlando Magic: Lose Dwight Howard, Jason Richardson/Acquire 3 first-round picks, Moe Harkless, Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Nikola Vucevic
Winner or Loser? Loser
I am in no way giving Howard a pass for his actions these past few years. He has been hot and cold, on and off, up and down, and just about any other analogy you can think of to describe how terribly he has handled his trade request.
Howard has gone back and forth on his word, dangling Orlando by their heart strings and he will rightfully be under immense pressure this upcoming season to remind everyone the caliber of player he is and why he was worth all this trouble.
But at the same time, Orlando shares some of the blame for their perdicament by refusing to come to their senses and rip off the band-aid sooner. Howard was never resigning in Orlando, the writing had been on the wall for months. By sitting on their hands and hoping against hope that Howard would have a change of heart and decide to stay put, the Magic front office let several considerably more attractive trade packages pass them by and have undoubtedly become a near bottom feeder in the eastern conference overnight.
This is no slight towards the pieces they have received: Afflalo is a starting caliber guard coming off a career year in points per game, Vucevic is a young big with the potential to become a solid role player, and Harrington can still provide a few points off the bench. But to take on a bad contract like Harrington's, while failing to dump one of your own (Turkoglu) is just bad business. Add that to the fact that the picks acquired, although all first-rounders, will be towards the end of the round, and its hard to find an angle to support this move for Orlando.