The blockbuster went down today, and Dwight Howard is going to the Lakers.
We’ll take it team-by team:
LOS ANGELES LAKERS — They are replacing the best center in the Western Conference with the best center in the Eastern Conference. And let there be no doubt — Dwight is twice the player that ‘Drew is. Howard has 41 career 20-20 games (scoring at least 20 points and grabbing at least 20 rebounds), with his last one coming in what will likely end up as his last game played for the Magic — April 7 at Philadelphia when he had 20 points and 22 rebounds before shutting his season down for back surgery. Bynum has two career 20-20 games, both coming last season. Howard (26) is older than Bynum (24), but until last season he had missed only seven games over his first seven seasons. In Bynum’s seven NBA seasons, he has played 46, 82, 35, 50, 65, 54 and 60 (of a possible 66). That’s 166 games missed due to injury and/or suspension. The Lakers also get Earl Clark and Chris Duhon, bringing their roster size to 13 and their payroll to just under $100 million. Clark will be buried behind Pau Gasol and Antawn Jamison, and Duhon will vie with Steve Blake for the backup minutes behind Steve Nash. Is the luxury tax going to sting? You betcha. Can the Lakers afford it? Uh, yup. Check out how much revenue they are about to start bringing in through their new TV deal.
This is the Lakers’ new depth chart:
C – Howard, Jordan Hill, Robert Sacre (R)
PF – Gasol, Jamison, Clark
SF — Metta World Peace, Darius Johnson-Odom (R), Devin Ebanks.
SG — Bryant, Andrew Goudelock, Jodie Meeks
PG — Nash, Blake, Duhon
VERDICT: WINNER (HUGE) The Lakers have a chance to be a 70-win team, and we can all go to bed now and wake up in the first week of June when the Lakers and Miami Heat met for the NBA championship. Remember that Committee on Bad Trades that San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich suggested be created after the Lakers’ acquisition of Pau Gasol? Popovich is probably thinking the same thing today.
ORLANDO MAGIC – They had a chance to get Brook Lopez, MarShon Brooks, Kris Humphries and four (!) first-round draft picks, three of which would have been unprotected coming from Brooklyn. They also had a chance to acquire a bevy of young players and unprotected draft picks from the Houston Rockets, as detailed here and here. But Rob Hennigan only acquired one first-round pick from each of the other three teams (the Lakers can only trade a 2017 first-round pick, as their 2013 and 2015 picks were shipped to Phoenix in the Nash sign-and-trade), he is getting killed in this deal. The Magic will receive Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Nikola Vucevic, rookie swingman Moe Harkless, Josh McRoberts, Christian Eyenga, three first-round draft picks and a 2013 second-round pick from the Nuggets (by way of Golden State), an additional second-round pick. Somehow, the idea of rebuilding around a 24-year-old center, Bynum, did not appeal to them.
Here is a look at what the Magic’s depth chart looks like:
C – Vucevic, Gustavo Ayon.
PF- Glen Davis, Justin Harper, Harrington, McRoberts, Kyle O’Quinn (R), Andrew Nicholson (R), Harkless (R).
SF: Hedo Turkoglu, Quentin Richardson, Eyenga.
SG: Afflalo, J.J. Redick.
PG: Jameer Nelson.
VERDICT: LOSER (Train Wreck). They will be better than the Bobcats, and that’s about the best thing you can say about them. Good luck, Jacque Vaughn. You’ve got your work cut out for you. Somewhere, Stan Van Gundy is laughing at his former employer.
PHILADELPHIA 76ERS – Yes, they are probably going to have to sweat out Bynum becoming an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, even though they can offer him a three-year extension worth $60 million. The reason? Bynum can become unrestricted and get a five-year, $100 million deal from the Sixers, who will have his Bird rights. It’s the same reason why Deron Williams refused to sign an extension last year, and the reason why Howard will not sign an extension with the Lakers. Philadelphia has been shopping Andre Iguodala for years, and they will finally get rid of the $30.6 million Iggy is owed over the next two seasons. Bynum and Spencer Hawes are about as good of a center tandem as there is anywhere in the NBA, but additional moves are going to have to be made over the next 24 months to get this team to a place where it can compete with the Miami Heat and some of the other top teams in the East. The decision to amnesty Elton Brand will help speed that process.
The Sixers depth chart:
C – Bynum, Hawes, Kwame Brown.
PF – Thaddeus Young, Lavoy Allen, Arnett Moultrie.
SF – Dorell Wright.
SG – Evan Turner, Nick Young, Jason Richardson.
PG – Jrue Holiday, Royal Ivey.
VERDICT: The jury is out. Let’s see what they can turn Hawes into after he becomes trade-eligible on Dec. 15. But getting a player of Bynum’s caliber in exchange for Iguodala and Harkless is a pretty nice deal.
DENVER NUGGETS – They must have a very high opinion of Iguodala, because Afflalo, Harrington, a future No. 1 and a future No. 2 is an awful lot to give up for a player who has been on the trading block since Carmelo Anthony was still a part of this team — especially since the Nuggets are already loaded at the small forward position. Makes you wonder whether there will be a post-Howard domino effect over the next few weeks, which there almost certainly will be. Harrington is owed $21.3 million over the next three seasons, so Denver would be out from under that contract and would have some additional cap flexibility in 2015-16. So from that aspect, there is a positive. They will almost certainly be a playoff team.
The Nuggets’ post-trade depth chart:
C – JaVale McGee, Timofey Mozgov, Kosta Koufos.
PF – Kenneth Faried, Anthony Randolph.
SF – Iguodala, Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Jordan Hamilton, Quincy Miller (R).
SG – Corey Brewer, Evan Fournier (R).
PG – Ty Lawson, Andre Miller, Julyan Stone.
VERDICT: WINNER. If they stand pat and use Iguodala or Chandler as the starting 2-guard, they are not a bad looking team. If the draft pick they are surrendering is one of their own, it is worth bearing in mind that they still own the lesser of their own or the Knicks’ No. 1 pick in 2014, and New York’s in 2016. They also preserve the $13 million trade exception from the Nene deal with Washington.
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