Even the casual basketball fan is probably aware of the biggest off-season trade involving 4 teams that went down last week, landing Dwight Howard in Los Angeles. Let’s take a look at the details of the trade and examine who got the most value out of it all.
Los Angeles Lakers receive – Dwight Howard, Chris Duhon, Earl Clark
Denver Nuggets receive – Andre Iguodala
Philadelphia 76ers receive – Andrew Bynum, Jason Richardson
Orlando Magic receive – Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Nikola Vucevic, Moe Harkless Josh McRoberts, Christian Eyenga
Every time 4 teams are involved in a trade, someone is bound to get the short end of the stick, even more so when a player of Howard’s caliber is involved.
Los Angeles Lakers are clearly the big winners in this trade. Not only did the Lakers sign Steve Nash, but they will pair him up with the best center in the league. When healthy, Dwight Howard is a top 5 player in the league, and the most athletic and dominant center. Even though Bynum is extremely talented, you never knew whether he would give you a 100% every game. Howard is a rebounding machine and a frightening paint presence, and most importantly – the Lakers know they can count on him, at least for this season.
The most amazing part of this trade is the fact that the Lakers get to keep Pau Gasol. By signing Nash and landing Howard, the Lakers are right back in title contention. While most already see the Lakers playing the Heat in the finals, you still have to wait and see how well the “big 4″ manage to co-exist, and the Thunder now have enough experience to stand in the Lakers’ way to the finals.
Denver Nuggets lost Al Harrington and Arron Afflalo, while receiving the olympics gold medalist Andre Iguodala. I quite like what the Nuggets got here. Al Harrington is 32 and is not getting any better. I think Andre Iguodala is a very similar player compared to Afflalo, but slightly superior in most categories. Iguodala is a great defender, very athletic and does all the intangibles on the court. Building around the young core of JaVale McGee, Ty Lawson, Danilo Gallinari and Kenneth Faried, Iguodala should fit in very well, and help Denver make some noise in the playoffs.
Philadelphia 76ers had an overall successful season last year, as they fell 1 game short of Eastern Conference finals. While it was a good season, you could tell the team wouldn’t go any further, as they simply couldn’t put the ball in the basket. The leading scorer for Philly was Lou Williams, who averaged 14.9 points per game off the bench. The Sixers let go of Williams, and now traded the heart and soul of the team in Iguodala, to get Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson. Everyone knows that Andrew Bynum is stubborn and acts as he pleases, but it will be very interesting to see whether he can truly flourish as he is put in a leading role in Philadelphia. Bynum won’t resign, simply because he can sign for more money once his contract expires, but if he stays in Philly after this season, they will have a very good player to build around. Richardson isn’t really the player he once was, but still a solid piece.
Orlando Magic You can look at the trade from Orlando’s perspective in 2 ways. It is obvious that they didn’t get nearly enough value for Howard, as the only 2 players of significant value are Afflalo and Harrington. Afflalo is a great lock-down defender, and can also score, but he is no superstar. People argue that Orlando should have taken the Brook Lopez and MarShon Brooks offer that was on the table earlier, but the Magic didn’t think Lopez was good enough to build around, considering his injuries and all.
Another way to look at it is that Orlando got rid of bad contracts, and can now rebuild through the draft. They got rid of Chris Duhon, Earl Clark and Jason Richardson, and got a few future draft picks, and young players in return. But basketball fans are not known for being patient, and Orlando’s fans are in for a couple of dark years. Remember the time when the Cavaliers lost LeBron James and went from being the number 1 seed in the East to hitting rock-bottom? Orlando Magic will be in the exact same situation, and until they find a future star in the draft, they won’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.