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Game Changer: Dwight Howard Going to Lakers in Four-Team Deal

Just when you thought the NBA offseason was starting to get a little quiet in August, the trade winds picked up in a hurry yesterday as rumors of a four-team deal involving the Lakers, Magic, Nuggets and 76ers appeared across the horizon as first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo! Sports.

Less than 24 hours later, ESPN.com among other major outlets have reported that this is a done deal. Here’s the breakdown of who goes where as we know it now:

A source with direct knowledge of the talks told ESPN.com’s Marc Stein 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.

The Lakers also will acquire Earl Clark and Chris Duhon, a source told ESPN The Magazine’s Chris Broussard. Draft picks the Magic will receive are Nuggets (2014), 76ers (2015) and Lakers (2017).

In addition, the Magic will be getting other pieces, including 76ers No. 1 draft pick Moe Harkless, a source told Stein.

There are plenty of reasonable reactions to have in response to this deal. Perhaps first and foremost is the, “REALLY ORLANDO? THAT’S THE BEST YOU COULD GET AFTER SHOPPING HOWARD FOR ALMOST A YEAR?” We don’t know the complete deal terms now though, so let’s forego that option for now, calm down, and think more about how this relates to the C’s and complexion of the Eastern Conference this season and beyond, while trying to ignore the disturbing reality Howard will be joining Boston’s natural rival.

To start off, Orlando drops down a major tier in the Eastern Conference. I’m not going to say they won’t contend for the 7th or 8th spot because Aaron Afflalo is good, Glen Davis played well when he wasn’t next to Dwight on the floor, and the bottom half of the East still isn’t a formidable group. Either way, Orlando is no longer a tough out in the East and with an injury or two, could be at the bottom of the league for awhile moving forward.

Philadelphia adds another twist to their underwhelming offseason by dumping Iguodala for a true center in Bynum. There are a couple problems here however: 1) They already have two true centers on the roster in Spencer Hawes and Kwame Brown (although this may lead me to believe someone told Doug Collins neither of them are very good. 2) Collins will have to attempt to coach Bynum without either party driving each other crazy.

Those are two serious causes of concern. With that said, it’s not a terrible gamble by Philly. If Collins figures out Lavoy Allen is his best power forward on the roster, Bynum and Allen is a very formitable front line that will give undersized teams like Boston upfront (Brandon Bass) trouble. Let’s just hope Mr. Collins keeps rolling out Hawes and Brown out there as opposed to Allen and/or Thaddeus Young. Philly also still doesn’t have anyone who can shoot from the outside, so there’s that too.

Denver gets Iguodala with their trade exception while dumping Afflalo and Harrington. That’s still not enough for them to contend in the monster that the Western Conference has become, but there’s a lot of talent out in the Rockies right now and they’ll continue to give contenders tough series in the first two rounds of the postseason if Lawson, McGee and Gallinari maintain their progression around a veteran almost All-Star like Iguodala.

Finally we have the Lakers and yes I’ve been avoiding them on purpose. Everyone will be moaning how they got to keep Gasol in this deal and still get Howard, but the reality is Gasol’s deal is so inflated over the next couple years, he really isn’t much of a valuable trade chip anymore. The Magic didn’t want to pay him almost 19 million dollars to be a middle of the road team, and the same goes for the rest of the NBA. The Lakers will happily keep him because he makes them a stronger contender and he is still an elite player.

Looking past that, the deal should be a home run for the Lakers, assuming Howard is content with being what will probably be their fourth offensive option most of the time. You think that may be an issue, but you’re probably forgetting Steve Nash is the new point guard out there and usually makes everyone on the roster happy. Defensively, we know what Howard can do.

I think the only thing the C’s fans can be happy about here is the fact that Mike Brown is still coaching this team, who himself hasn’t proven he can put together an effective halfcourt offense when it matters. That may no longer be a problem with Nash in the equation, but we have a few months to wonder how it will shake out.

For now though, I’m not totally worked up about Howard on the Lakers. Why?

1) Howard’s out of the Eastern Conference, so C’s only have to deal with him twice a year now.
2) The two regular season matchups each year between Boston and LA should be even more enjoyable to watch now.
3) Garnett proved last season he could guard Howard at center, so his presence in LA is not a game-changer as far as the BOS vs. LAL matchup goes.
4) Howard’s presence makes the Western Conference even tougher now, meaning the Thunder will have a harder road to the NBA Finals. If the C’s somehow do find a way back to the NBA Finals this season, I’d much rather face the Lakers over the Thunder as I believe Boston still matches up better with the aging Lakers compared to the athletic Thunder.

No one in Boston wants to see the Lakers get better generally, but given the alternatives of Howard joining the Nets somehow next year, I’m happy Boston won’t have to deal with him as much for the next 12 months and perhaps beyond.

  • Brian

    So Kobe gets a stacked deck to work with again! No NBA Superstar has had more Star Teammates giftwrapped and delivered to their doorstep like him. Shaq, Malone, Payton, Gasol, Nash, and now Howard. He would have had Chris Paul too if Stern hadn't vetoed that trade.

    • greenM&M

      TRUE THAT! Ridiculous!

  • Celtics Fan

    Kinda glad that we signed Jason Collison now lol

  • Renato Afonso

    The issue with Bynum going to Philly is that the Celtics don't have anyone capable of guarding him. These last couple of seasons the one player giving the Lakers the edge was Bynum, who could just beast KG around. I'm not saying that KG didn't produce offensively, I'm saying that KG couldn't guard Bynum. And Bass can't do it as well.

    I mean, Doug Collins is a great coach and I'm pretty sure he'll roll out a Jrue, Turner, Young, Allen, Bynum lineup against the Celtics in crunch time which can spell trouble. And again, I'm not saying that the balance switches towards Philly, I'm just saying it's much tougher and I can see the season series being split 2-2. Come playoff time, I can see a Boston-Philadelphia matchup going seven games as well. That's the most important ramification to the Celtics: 4 yearly matchups with Bynum and an earlier meeting in the playoffs.

    The Lakers improve greatly on defense (specially pick'n roll defense) but I don't see any upgrade on offense. Bynum is better offensively and the stats while sharing the court with Kobe Bryant prove just that.

    I don't understand why Orlando did this and Denver gets even better, but not enough…

    • ElRoz

      Boston has Wilcox, Collins, and KG at center…two of these can be on the floor at the same time. It is a team game and one Buynum is not the difference maker for Phily.

    • Matt

      Howard fits much better offensively because he is an elite P&R finisher to play with Nash. Also he doesn't need the ball in his hands like Bynum to be effective. Whether or not he will be okay with that is another matter.

  • Jeff

    Orlando has been terrible at feeding Dwight in the post. Between screen rolls with Nash & Eddie Jordan's coaching of the Princeton offense look for him to get lots of easy chances.
    Re Philly, Kwame and Bynum have been teammates before. I bet Kwame is comfortable and effective (at least on D) at 16 min/game. Too bad for the 76ers they had to give up Andre Igoudale, he's better than the almost all-star he's called above. He's a real basketball player who does everything. Bynum may be a bust, but on a team that commits to regularly getting him the ball in a good position, he could easily look like the best center in the league too.
    The only good news for the Celtics is no need to worry about Orlando for a couple years.

  • Phil

    I'm not sure why having Brown and Hawes means the 76ers shouldn't have traded for Bynum. By my count, they have one center now. The stupid moves were paying Hawes WAY too much based on three good postseason games, and paying Kwame at all. That said, I'm lower on Bynum than pretty much anyone else. If you get him out of his situation of third option not asked to do much on a really good team, I think he might crumble. He could help the 76ers a lot, but he also has the maturity and injury history to end up like Maverick version Odom. He's going to have to offset the drop from Iggy to Turner before he even gets to neutral contribution too.

    The real problem with this deal is that its just straight dumb for the Magic. I don't know if Wade or Lebron changed their name to Aaron Afflalo, but if not, this team isn't coming close to the eighth seed. Al Harrington is nothing, and the guaranteed lottery pick Houston was offering is better alone than any of the picks they got. Afflalo is really better than all the pieces Houston was offering combined? A core of Jameer Nelson, Afflalo, Glen Davis and whatever other remnants of Otis are left are ending closer to the Bobcats than the playoffs. I think people underrate just how much Howard did for that team on both sides of the ball.

    I agree with the article on the Laker's perspective. This was a no brainer for them; they flipped an all star center into an MVP center, but I still like the idea of facing them more than the Thunder as a Cs fan.

    • Tos

      Not to mention the Hawes is truly a PF not a Center, he will start at PF and play much better there.

  • janos

    hi bryan is janos
    dont forget give a credit JAMES PATRICK he break news yesterday night on ealrier post ;we have a talk on this subjects, both are agree lakers howard good move them but not point of worry ; still big three stay celtics nba current

    am interest your takes on bynum center philly, are good more now then other team?

  • lakershater13

    Very puzzled what Orlando is doing here. Makes sense for LA, Philly, and Denver. Makes no sense for Orlando.

    Orlando could have had Lopez and Brooks from the Nets along with better picks. They could have had a good package of pick in a Cavs deal since the Cavs have 4 first rounders next year. I know Houston was really trying to make something happen. This was really the best deal for Orlando? I am very sorry for the city of Orlando. I hope the concerts sell out in that huge new arena they have. They wont be selling out basketball games anytime soon.

  • NHBluesMan

    just wondering… who does LA have beyond this for a bench? not much if i recall

    • frank sampedro

      jamison, jordan hill, jodie meeks & ebanks

      • frank sampedro

        also steve blake, chris dohun & earl clarck

      • celtics9

        ebanks is garbage jamison scrub hill no offense meeks good not consistent

  • James Patrick

    Can I get a hell yeah if you're sick and tired of the Lakers getting everything handed to them?! WTF they give up Bynum and a draft pick for Howard?! They gave up $hit for Gasol, now they're giving up $hit for Howard. Sterns master plan. He's always wanted Howard in L.A., You think there wasn't a reason behind blocking the Paul trade? Howard in L.A. means more revenue. Sterns made the NBA a joke. Get ready for Lakers/Heat Christmas day games again for the next 10 years. lol

    • Phil

      The reason behind blocking the Paul trade (as owner of the Hornets, not NBA commissioner,) was that it was an inferior package to what the Hornets eventually got. It sucks that the Lakers get these deals handed to them, but let's not pretend its some giant conspiracy. Stern is just a better GM than Rob Hennigan and Chris Wallace. (Kevin Mchale too, but we like that trade.)

      I don't get the general fan fetish for conspiracies. Do people really enjoy thinking that everyone is conspiring against them?

  • Nate

    If this trade goes thru so stupiddd for the magic
    The nets deal was wayyyyyy better for them even more 1st rounders
    If Bynum goes to Philly I hope Boston activates fab Melo for the philly games just so he could rough Bynum up definitely one of the dirtiest player in the league
    Injjured Kendrick in game 6 gave Gerald Wallace a concussion

  • guest2

    DREAM FUCKING ON Banner Number 18 in your ASS

    • James Patrick

      It's funny to me how ESPN and Laker lovers like to say they've won 16 Championships. However, the 5 they won in Minneapolis was due in part to big man George Mikan. Where is Mikan on this newly created picture of all the Laker big men? Exactly. Think about where and how those titles came about if you're going to take credit for them.

    • noche

      Really? We're you a big lakers fan when they were in minnesota? No? You're grandparents weren't born yet you say? So you have 11 banners then.

      • cowboy

        That argument is so lame. It is the same organization. Teams move get over it. I have been a life long Celtics fan, and it always upsets me when people try to use that argument.

        • James Patrick

          No, what's lame is the Lakers have only been taking credit for them for the past decade or so. I live in L.A. so I know this. If they had claimed them all from the get go, it would be different. But this town isn't rich in tradition like Boston is. They don't give a crap about how they got them, they just want to say they're close to the C's in titles. Try and find a Mikan jersey at the Staples Center or anywhere else in L.A.

        • NHBluesMan

          except you don't see OKC claiming they've already got a banner from when they were the Sonics

          • James Patrick

            EXACTLY!!!!! where's the Sonics Banner? Why was there all this talk about OKC's first title? Funny how people/media plays things.

  • KJandHondo

    I know Orlando wants to go in a new direction but what they did was dumb. They didn't even dump the contracts they were trying to dump (glen davis, Hedo). Instead they absorbed contracts. I don't know who's running their front office but Otis Smith must still have some kind of power. That trade is horrible for Orlando. Houston, Atlanta or even getting Dwight to buy into OKC could have been better. Also Denver helped the team that eliminated them from the playoffs get better. Whatever. On to the Celtics: I am worried. I don't like KG matching up with Bynum at the 5 spot. The Sixers were pretty darn good last year and Bynum will make them better. The Atlantic Division is stacked. That 2 or 3 seed in the East is looking harder and harder to get. Not to mention that Indiana is a pretty formidable team. Chicago is in a flux right now so I'm just not sure what to make of them yet. I need to see what Thibodeau can do with the crap Gar Forman gave him. Thoughts?

  • wildcat96

    Lakers got Jodie Meeks as a gunner off the bench, sucks more and more by the minute

  • skeeds

    Meh. Everyone already thought it's coming one way or another, since the Nets pulled out of the race. The Magic management proved once again that they cannot run a team.
    Yes, the Lakers are that much better, and it's frustrating that they always get the best big man in the league. That said, I was much more frustrated when they got Shaq rather than now. For a "dominant" big man, Howard isn't all that dominant. I'm not bashing on him cause he's a Laker now. But he's a mediocre post scorer, a BAD pick n roll player (considering he's the most physically gifted player in the league), and none of those things are gonna change.
    Unfortunately, his one elite skill, defense, is good enough for the Lakers to win. They have the best pick n roll player in the league, feeding the only actually skilled 7 footer not named Timmy. Not to mention that with 3 very smart players in Nash, Gasol and Bryant, they might actually overcome Mike Brown's continuously disappointing coaching…

    On a side note, Denver won this trade. Those guys know what they're doing. They've made sharp move after sharp move since the "Melodrama". They were exciting, fast, and spectacular this season. Iggy tends to be exciting fast and spectacular too. I can't think of a more suited veteran leader they could bring in. I'm gonna be watching some Nuggets games this season, that's for sure!

  • dasein

    Dwight says he won't sign an extension and could leave as a free agent next year, but he's such a star-f@*ker that won't happen.

    Never thought I could root for the Heat, but if it ends up them and LAL in the final that's whats going to happen.
    God I hate the Lakers.

    • Phil

      Dwight won't sign an extension because that would be two years and 40m less dollars than he can get if he waits until free agency and re-signs with LA. Don't read too much into him not signing an extension, he wouldn't even if LA was his #1 choice. Hard to see him bolting either way though.

  • kg215

    Almost all star sound about right. Igoudala is a great defender, but is just okay at everything else yet he gets paid like an allstar. It improves the Nuggets but not drastically.

  • greenboner

    now david stern is gonna fix the playoffs to have the heat vs lakers. it will be "whats best for the nba"

  • Hiro

    Who do they have on the bench?jermaine o’neal?jesus that means he will have to play against DH in practices?lol hope he doesnt get injured

    • NHBluesMan

      O'Neal signed with the Suns instead

  • tbunny

    Shaq was a monster. Unstoppable. Dwight is a good player but no Shaq.

  • skeeds

    I love the "Stern fixed this" conspiracies flying around. I assure you, Stern is FURIOUS Howard went to LA. LA makes maximoum revenue as it is. The Lakers play sold out arenas every night, they've got the most expensive tv deal, they allready have the biggest star internationally in Kobe.

    Howard is an overkill market wise. What Stern would love, is for Howard to go to a team like the Nets, or the Rockets. Middle of the pack teams (profit wise) that he would push to prime time. The Rockets filling up their arena for 40 games is more profit than the Lakers playing 5 more games at home in the playoffs. That's how the NBA works. Sure, a Lebron vs Kobe Finals round would sell a couple more ads. But that's nothing compared to a multi-year network deal another team would sign if they got Howard.

    Stern is not impartial, at all. But he wants the opposite of what happened right now. Remember the CP3 almost-trade? THAT's what Stern would do every time if he could. He'd keep the top 10 superstars away from each other, filling 10 separate arenas every game, selling jerseys to 10 different markets. He's got a bunch of teams with no marketable assets to worry about. He sure as hell doesn't like 2 of his top money makers playing for the same (already profitable) team.

  • Shane

    Boy oh boy… your writing could use some work.

    • SimplyAwful

      He's terrible.

  • Morpheus

    Fakers have no depth and I really don’t see how the Fakers improved a whole lot, certainly not cause for concern. Bynum was equal to Dwight last season. Defensively they got better, and they got their playmaking pg they’ve always longed for. Should be interesting to see if Nash and Kobe can co-exist.

    The Celtics are still the team to beat baby, believe it.

    • NHBluesMan

      i dunno if they even got that much better defensively… Howard is a step forward, but Nash is a step back, so it's almost a wash between the 2 of them

  • Morpheus

    The Celtics are still the team to beat baby, believe it.

    • guest2

      you are stupid
      believe it

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  • emg

    Let's see how it goes.

    1. nash back problems.
    2. nash just trying to be closer to family. doesn't feel passionate or identified with lakers.
    3. Same with Dwight. and kobe will boss everyone around and demoralize them.
    4. dwight back problems unknown.
    5. dwight's defense having relatively little impact on celtics primarily perimeter offense.
    6. dwight's offense relatively weak and getting hacked –> less than 50% from line, w/high pressure.
    7. can't see this frankenstein of a Lakers team overcoming struggles together.

  • IBleedGreen

    I rather see a lockout than LA vs. Miami Finals.