Yesterday, former Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard was officially traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in a 4-team trade which also involved the Denver Nuggets and Philadelphia 76ers. Howard was rumored to want to go to the Brooklyn/New Jersey Nets for the last 2 years, but it never happened because of Howard’s indecisiveness and the Magic’s unwillingness to trade him. Now, Orlando got a much worse deal because they waited too long. They could have gotten Brook Lopez, Kris Humphries, Marshon Brooks, and 4 first round picks if they had traded him to the Nets earlier.
As a Nets fan, I’m just glad that this whole Dwightmare is over. It went on way too long and I am relieved. I am annoyed that he never ended up with the Nets because that would have made them instant title-contenders, but I am happy with Brook Lopez and I think that Brook will still have a very good season.
This trade made no sense for Orlando. They got a bunch of protected first round picks which will be at best mid-first round, Aaron Afflalo, a solid role player at best, and Al Harrington, a washed up big man who shoots 3′s. None of those pieces will help the team rebuild. On top of that, they also re-signed Jameer Nelson to a 3-year deal this offseason and he is already 30. This team will be at the bottom of the NBA for the next 5 years. This couldn’t be more deserving with the way they handled the Dwight situatio and I am happy that they didn’t get full value for Dwight.
Every other team in this trade other than Orlando got a great, great deal. For the Lakers, they may have just become NBA title favorites, even though the Miami Heat are stacked. In addition to Howard, a top-5 player, they have Kobe Bryant, one of the best players ever, Pau Gasol, another very solid big man who has won 2 titles, and newly-acquired Steve Nash. Although he is very old, his production recently has still been very good and he should be able to produce for at least another year or two. They will also have former all-star Antawn Jamison coming off the bench.
The Denver Nuggets acquired Andre Iguodala, which I absolutely love. Since the MeloDrama with Carmelo Anthony, has any organization handled their front office decision-making better than Denver? That would be hard to argue. This is a team with a lot of very good but not great players, and they got another one with Iguodala, currently playing for Team USA in the Olympics. Iggy still has a few good years in him where he can average 15 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists. Combining him with Ty Lawson, Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, and Javale McGee will lead to a solid playoff team for years. Although Denver will never win a title with this core, they will always be very competitive and a tough out in the playoffs.
For the 76ers, one of the division rivals of the Nets, acquired Andrew Bynum was huge. This is a team that was one win away from the Eastern Conference Finals last season and they got better with this trade. Bynum, when healthy, is the second-best center in the NBA and if he re-signs in Philadelphia, this is a great trade for the Sixers. With the Knicks, Celtics, Sixers, and Nets in the Atlantic division, we can see 4 teams from the division in the playoffs next season.
This trade has changed the landscape in the NBA for years to come and is one of the biggest trades in NBA history. It also makes me even more excited for the beginning of the next NBA season, which starts in about 80 days. I can’t wait!