Let me convey my surprise again: WHAT!?!?!?!?!?!… ?!?
Here’s the skinny, Dwight Howard has changed his address, thanks to the Lakers, Magic as well as Denver and Philly. The league’s best center is going to Tinsletown.
I still can’t get over the fact that LA got Dwight Howard, defensive monster extraordinaire, for the price of Andrew Bynum, Josh McRoberts and Christian Eyenga. Bynum was probably a given to be dealt. It was either him or Gasol, and I don’t think any teams acquiring Gasol wanted to play out the Memphis scenario again. I also don’t think the Lakers would have functioned well with Bynum and Howard. Plus the fact that Bynum is younger and all that other crap. And LA gave up a first rounder with protection in 2017.
So in case you live under a rock, or Trump’s hair, here’s a quick rundown of the trade.
Lakers Acquire C Dwight Howard, PG Chris Duhon and F Earl Clark from Orlando.
Magic Acquire G Arron Afflalo and F Al Harrington from Denver, F Maurice Harkless and F/C Nikola Vucevic from Philadelphia, and finally, F Christian Eyenga from the Lakers.
76ers Acquire C Andrew Bynum from Los Angeles and G/F Jason Richardson from Orlando.
Nuggets Acquire G/F Andre Iguodala from Philadelphia.
Win, kind-of-win, win and win. And finally, win. In terms of returns for what these teams gave up, it should be thumbs up all around.
LA obviously got their prize in Dwight Howard. Not only did they get Howard, but they shed McBobs’ contract as well. It wasn’t necessarily a contractual albatross, but it was an albatross of sorts for a Lakers team with not a lot of cap room at all.
And if you’re a Laker fan, continue to be mad at David Stern. I know you got Dwight Howard and all, but you could have had Chris Paul as well. I’m not saying that team would have been better than this one, but certainly moving forward after Kobe, Nash and Pau all evidentially leave, you only have Howard. Hopefully players will want to come play with him and it doesn’t turn into Orlando again. But then what if you get CP3? You have him and Dwight Howard moving forward after the three said veterans move on. You probably are better off in the short term now with Howard, but long term it might be tricky.
Orlando’s return here is probably marginal. They didn’t get any MarShon Brooks or Brook Lopez back, but they did get pieces. Harkless and Vucevic both have the potential to be good players in this league, not superstars, but good, quality players. There’s obviously some future draft picks, and those are definitely my favorite things to write about (deadpan voice). Eyenga and Clark is a simple swap of former first-round picks who have potential, but are both in need of a third change of scenery. That’s not good considering that Clark was a late lottery guy and Eyenga was a first rounder as well. Afflalo and Harrington are nice pieces and will produce in Orlando, however I wouldn’t be surprised if teams came calling for them as time goes by. It wouldn’t be inconceivable to see both of them somewhere else by this time next year, or even the trade deadline.
I think what Philly did was bold. They traded their face of the franchise, who was at the Olympics at the time, to Denver, but got back Bynum. It could work out brilliantly seeing as he’s probably the best true center in the league besides the guy the Lake Show got in return for him. When I say bold, it’s that Philly gave up a lot to get him. Iguodala plus Vucevic and Harkless and a future first-round pick. Bynum could be brilliant for the 76ers and give them a nice tandem with Spencer Hawes, or he could put up 13 points a game and seven rebounds per and then walk via free agency. I don’t like what the Sixers did overall though. Bynum is nice, but they got older and thinner basically. They replaced Lou Williams and Jodie Meeks with Dorrell Wright, Nick Young and Jason Richardson. They don’t have a solid backup point guard, and they don’t have a real backup center. That is, unless you slide Hawes over when Bynum needs a breather. One of Philly’s strength’s last year was that they had oodles of slashing wing players to throw at you. But also that they didn’t force anything offensively. If there’s three players who force their shots, namely threes, it’s those guys.
While Philly’s move was bold, Denver’s was pure genius. They gave up Afflalo, a guy who’s going to score a little and shut down the other team’s best perimeter player. They also shed Harrington’s contract and got back, essentially, a better Afflalo. It’s pure genius. Shed to long term deals and get back a player who fits in well with the rest of the team from a style of play standpoint. Denver is young, they are very athletic, and I’d wager to say that their first five off the bench are probably better than some teams starting five overall. Saying that, the Denver bench would probably have a legitimate chance to make the playoffs out East. Overall, for the Nuggets, the key word is depth. They have, as stated, good backups at each position on the floor, and in some cases, are three deep when you talk about Timofey Mozgov and Kousta Koufus at center as well as Corey Brewer and Evan Fournier at the two guard.
You’ll notice that earlier I said this was a “Win, kind-of-win, win and win. And finally, win”. That’s a “win” situation for each of the four parties involved and me. Egocentric as always, this is a win for me because it throws a big old monkey wrench into Clay Bennett’s little Raiders championship aspirations. Obviously the Lakers have jumped them in the West, not only due to Dwight Howard, but also some two-time MVP you might have heard of named Steve Nash. I still think San Antonio is relevant. Their championship window may be getting smaller, but the Spurs are probably a lock to make the Western Conference semis if not the Western Conference, or NBA, Finals. And I think Denver is going to be there. They seem to have gotten much better with said Iguodala acquisition, and I think that, and an abundance of depth and talent, will push them past OKC.
So take that Bennett.
Also good trade for all parties involved.