For the Nets, the Dwightmare ended tonight as Dwight Howard was traded to the Lakers in a four team trade that sends Andrew Bynum to the 76ers, Andre Iguodala to the Nuggets, Arron Afflalo to the Magic, and has many other quality players packing their suitcases. Pau Gasol was miraculous excluded from the blockbuster deal. This trade is not yet official. The Nets came extremely close to acquiring Howard at the trading deadline, before Howard waived his Early Termination Option and guaranteed his contract with the Magic for an extra season. This trade re-shapes the Eastern Conference hierarchy as the Magic begin a rebuilding process and the 76ers acquire Bynum, the second best center in the game when healthy. Also, the Lakers are looking very, very scary right now with Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, and Steve Nash.
It seemed unlikely that the Nets would get Howard after committing to large contracts with Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Brook Lopez, Gerald Wallace, and Kris Humphries. The Magic were hoping to lower their team payroll and the Nets could not offer bargain basement players in a trade. Also, the Nets do not have enough salary cap space to acquire Howard via free agency.
Here’s ESPN reporting the trade:
A four-team trade that would send Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers is complete, multiple sources told ESPN on Thursday night. 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 Nets front office can now take a breath: the Dwightmare is over!