The Dwightmare saga suddenly and finally came to a close on Friday, as a reported four-team trade from Thursday came to a conclusion that sent center Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers.
So who won and lost big in the trade? Chris Sheridan has the analysis here. The Lakers, without a doubt, become an epic team, and Mark Heisler explains how Howard is the newest version of Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. With such an unbelievable team assembled, can the Lakers win 73 or more games in the upcoming season? Take our poll here.
That’s not all that happened today, as Team USA easily defeated Argentina in the semifinals to fight for the gold medal against Spain. Check out Nick Gibson’s five factors that could cause USA to lose the gold to Spain.
And of course, check out all the news from around the league below:
- Here are all the details of the blockbuster four-team trade, from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports: “The Lakers will send All-Star center Andrew Bynum to the Philadelphia 76ers, who also will receive shooting guard Jason Richardson from the Magic. The Sixers will send guard Andre Iguodala to the Denver Nuggets. The Magic will receive Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Nikola Vucevic, rookie swingman Moe Harkless, forward Josh McRoberts, forward Christian Eyenga, a first-round pick from either the Nuggets or the New York Knicks in 2014, a protected first-round pick from the Sixers, a protected first-round pick from the Lakers in 2017, a second-round pick from the Nuggets in 2013 and a conditional second-rounder from the Lakers in 2015. In addition to Howard, the Lakers will also receive Earl Clark and Chris Duhon from the Magic.”
Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer wonders why the Magic got so little in return for Howard: “The Magic was never going to get fair value for Howard because that’s what happens when a superstar can leverage you, knowing he can eventually leave outright in free-agency. But after months of “Dwightmare’’ in Orlando, this looks like fairly little compared to – for instance – what Denver got back for Carmelo Anthony or what the Utah Jazz got back for Deron Williams. I get nuance. I’ve covered the NBA long enough to appreciate the value of future draft picks, cap relief and, yes, closure. I appreciate that the Magic is starting over and needs fluid assets. I just don’t get how something that dragged on this long would result in quite so little return.
- Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie explains how Team USA will roll to the gold on a barrage of three-pointers, but won’t die by them either: “Team USA won’t live and die in the Olympic Men’s Basketball tournament by the three-pointer, because they probably won’t die. The gold medal game on Sunday against Spain will not be a cakewalk, Spain is a deserving medal round contender, but all indications are that Team USA is going to roll to the gold on a wave of three-point bombs. Living all the way to the top of that medal stand, only dying for a quarter or two at a time before the shots start falling. It’s what the defense is giving them, those bombs, and also what Team USA is finding consistently as it leaks out in transition after securing defensive rebounds. The squad downed Argentina in a surprisingly one-sided affair on Friday, raining threes in a 62-43 second half run after Team USA went into halftime with a seven point lead.”
- Manu Ginobili didn’t have a whole lot of faith in his team’s chance of beating Team USA, as you can see from this quote from Patrick Graham of NBC Sports: ”The odds are against us. We have a 10 percent or even a five percent chance of winning but we are going to fight for this,” San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili said after driving his team past Brazil and into the semi-finals.”
- Coach K made a joke after the semifinals win about his job as the Olympics coach, but was misinterpreted by a foreign reporter, according to Scott Fowler of Charlotte Observer: “ In the U.S. press conference a TV reporter from America asked given this team of superstars: “How much coaching is really involved?” You could tell Coach K was irritated a little by the question, but he defused it with humor. “None,” he said. “You got it. Absolutely none. I’m out every night with my family, drunk as a skunk. Wait until you see me tonight. I’ll get in at 6 a.m., and you all are invited to come out with me. We just roll out the damn ball and that’s it. You got it. I don’t know how you figured that out.” Most of the room laughed. Then, five minutes later, a foreign reporter started a question to Kevin Durant like this: “Kevin, Coach K says he has been going out drinking a lot. What have you….” Krzyzewski interrupted him then, telling the reporter he had been joking. “Oh, sorry,” the reporter said. “I didn’t catch the irony.”
- The Cavaliers signed signed C.J. Miles to a deal, and Byron Scott will consider starting him, according to Bob Finnan of The News-Herald: The Cavs signed the 6-foot-6, 222-pound Miles to a two-year, $4 million contract on Wednesday. The second year of the deal is not guaranteed, a source confirmed. Cavs coach Byron Scott said Miles will compete for a starting job. ”If you look at our team, Kyrie (Irving) and Andy (Varejao) are the only starters,” he said. “Tristan (Thompson), C.J. and Dion (Waiters) will have to earn it.” Scott was pleased with the addition of Miles. ”He’s a guy I really like,” he said. “I like the way he plays. I always thought he was a guy who could do more. I envisioned him playing multiple positions, the ‘2′ and the ‘3.’ I’m very excited about that pickup.”
- Speaking of the Cavaliers, here is Kyrie Irving singing a duet from Grease with Erica Lauren. It’s not the most musically gifted duet in the world, but it’s still entertaining nonetheless.
- LeBron James has the attention and respect of USA teammate Tyson Chandler, who called James’ level of confidence scary, from Frank Isola of New York Daily News: ”He’s a helluva basketball player,” Chandler said. “I knew that before but watching him every day in practice you have a greater appreciation for him. But then you also see the type of leader he is. He has the type of personality where he makes everyone around him feel comfortable.”He’s an incredible teammate. I didn’t know that about him. I said it after he won, he’s going to be a completely different player. Winning a championship gives you a different confidence. You feel you can accomplish anything on the basketball floor. And him with that kinda confidence is scary.”
- John Schuhmann of Hang Time Blog explains why Andrew Bynum will make his mark on the offensive end for the 76ers: “Instead, Bynum’s presence will mean more offensively. For the first time since Allen Iverson left in 2006, the Sixers have a guy who can draw double-teams, a requisite for a successful offense. And for the first time since Charles Barkley left in 1992, they have someone to give the ball to on the low block. That will open lanes for guards Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner, while Richardson and Dorell Wright will give the Sixers more perimeter shooting than they had last season. But how coachDoug Collins manages his frontcourt rotation should be interesting, and the signing of Kwame Brown (or the re-signing of Spencer Hawes — take your pick) now seems like a waste of $6 million (or $13 million).”
- Arron Afflalo is happy to land with the Orlando Magic, according to his interview with Jorge Sierra of Hoops Hype: “How did you find out about the trade to Orlando? Arron Afflalo: Actually I was in Barcelona and found out on the Internet pretty much [laughs]. Have the Magic reached out to you? AA: No, not yet. Probably because of the time difference and the phone situation, it’s been difficult. I’ll be back in the States soon. So are you happy about it? AA: Yeah, I’m happy. I just wanted to thank the Denver organization, the teammates that you play with, the fans, but I think it’s a great opportunity there in Orlando from a player standpoint. With the coaching change and the management change, I think it’s a great time to be a part of the organization.”
- Jodie Meeks will join the Lakers to have a chance at a championship, according to Mark Medina of Los Angeles Times:
- Royce Young of Daily Thunder explains why the Oklahoma City Thunder still match up very well against the Los Angeles Lakers, and Kendrick Perkins will be a big reason: “They were good then, got better with the addition of Steve Nash and now are downright scary with Dwight Howard. The Lakers are for real, for real. However: The Thunder are still very, very good. And they still match up well with the Lakers. Kendrick Perkins should send Mitch Kupchak a fruit basket or an iTunes gift card for keeping him relevant for the next few years. There was all that chatter about amnestying him, especially with the league’s apparent shift to smallball and speed. That day might come at some point still, but not anytime in the near future. Perk has always been something of a Dwight Stopper, a guy that frustrates Howard and won’t let him physically dominate a game. Howard isn’t as much a threat on the block as Andrew Bynum is, but Perk’s job and role remain unchanged: Stop the Laker big man.”
- Brian Schmitz of Orlando Sentinel believes many are looking at Orlando’s situation the wrong way. Here is his explanation: ”This is what rebuilding looks like. It’s open to criticism, it’s unpopular, it’s messy, and it’s depressing. That said, I have few, if any, problems, with what the Magic did in trading Dwight Howard to the Lakers. Ninety-nine percent of the Magic’s critics have amnesia and are looking at this blockbuster Dwight deal the wrong way. And that includes fans, veteran NBA writers and ESPN talking heads. I did for a while, too, quite frankly, because I liked Andrew Bynum-for-Dwight. Look, the Magic lost this game long ago, back in December, when Dwight asked to be traded to only the teams on his list. Everyone knew they weren’t going to get fair value for Howard, lucky to get anything close.”
- Jermaine O’Neal has made a commitment to sign with the Phoenix Suns, according to Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic: “In the shadow cast by Superman’s arrival in Los Angeles, the timing of Jermaine O’Neal’s choice to commit to the Suns on Friday was unfortunate as an unrelated move. Given the caliber of remaining NBA free-agent centers, O’Neal’s commitment to sign a one-year, $1.35 million contract with Phoenix could be fortuitous if — and it’s a huge if — O’Neal can be healthier than he has been for the later half of his 16-year career. The Suns had only a backup center role and a one-year, veteran’s minimum contract to offer with a franchise that is in transition. The Suns came away with a six-time All-Star who is still only 33 years old because he entered the NBA out of high school.”
- Ric Bucher of ESPN took a shot at Wojnarowski’s report about the four-team trade without naming him, only to watch ESPN report that the deal was close later on, according to Jason McIntyre of Big Lead Sports: “A few hours after Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Dwight Howard could be headed to the Lakers in a blockbuster 4-team deal, ESPN’s Ric Bucher went on ESPN radio in LA and was asked about the potential trade. Bucher proceeded to take a massive dump on Wojnarowski’s report. We provided a transcript below; you canlisten to the audio here (37 minute mark). Bucher takes a few jabs early – without naming Wojnarowski – and then opens fire with a shocking sermon on journalism. The beauty in all of this – late Thursday, Chris Broussard went on Sportscenter and thenStephen A. Smith tweeted the same thing: the deal was very close to happening, and could be finalized tomorrow.”
- Russell Westbrook suffered a mild sprained ankle in the game against Argentina, according to David Aldridge of NBA.com:
- Check out the Lakers salaries with the addition of Howard, from HoopsHype.
- James Harden hits an awesome “trick-ish” shot after being convinced by comedian Todd Womack and company to do so.
- Tennis superstar Serena Williams enjoyed a healthy meal at McDonalds with Team USA, as you can see in this picture posted on her twitter account.
- Conan O’Brien’s Team Coco dominates Team USA of kids in 2032.