Breaking down the Dwight Howard trade, team by team.

Four teams, one trade, a million or so moving parts.

Who got what, who zoomed who, and what does it all mean?

The Magic get Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Nikola Vucevic, Moe Harkless, Josh McRoberts, Christian Eyenga and five 1st round picks. They give up Howard and Jason Richardson.

Yeah, I’ve read all the endless complaining about how bad orlando got zoomed, how they should have gotten more, etc. I’ve seen where everyone thinks they should have done something, anything other than this deal.

Not me.

What can I say, I get what they did here. For all the talk about how they should have made the deal for Bynum, they decided that the last thing they wanted was to take another guy who could leave at the end of the season, lest they have to go thru this same bullshit all over again. As far as the New Jersey deal, what’s so crazy abut deciding against paying Brook Lopez 60 million dollars? I’d call that rather wise, actually.

Fact of the matter was, they were left to chose between Houston and this trade,  both of whom were basically offering draft picks, young players and little else. Sadly, Orlando just didn’t have much in the way of leverage. Why they chose this trade over Houston’s is something I can only speculate about, but it makes sense to me that they thought enough of Arron Afflalo to proceed with this deal.

When the dust cleared, they ditched Jason Richardson’s contract, which was a mandatory condition set forth by the Owner of the Magic (since Richardson and Howard share the same agent and Orlando no longer wishes to deal with said agent) and was essentially a bigger priority than dumping Hedo Turkoglu’s massive deal. They got Afflalo, Al Harrington, a couple of young players and a sack full of first round draft picks over the next five years. yeah, those picks might all be late first rounders, but honestly who knows what happens to the Lakers, Sixers and Nuggets over the next five years?

Did they get full value for Howard? Hell no, but nobody who trades a superstar ever does, although Denver did come pretty close in the ‘Melo deal. Could they have done better? Honestly, I don’t really think so. Everysone seems to think so, but where were these better offers? I’m pretty sure Orlando feels like they exhausted every possible trade scenario and this was what they came up with. Save me the Golden State or Atlanta hypotheticals because none of that every materialized. The Rockets may have been willing to take back every bad contract (including Stan Van Gundy’s, for all we know) and the bottom line was, the Magic weren’t too fond of Kevin Martin and a bunch of rookies who are unknown commodities.

So you can cry about how they got fleeced or how they should have done better in theory or whatever, but this is the reality of what was available to them, and really, I think making this deal was worlds better than taking back Bynum or Brook Lopez. Next years’ team should stink, as should the one after that. With any luck, they’ll get a couple of pretty high draft picks in addition to the ones they got in the trade, and as free-agent destinations go, Orlando is one of the best around. If you wanna get good in the NBA, you first have to be bad. Like, really damn bad.

As of today, Orlando is really damn bad.

The Lakers get Dwight Howard, Chris Duhon and Earl Clark. They give up Andrew Bynum, Josh McRoberts and a future first round pick.

Well, this one’s pretty easy. The Lakers got the best center in the league and the new cornerstone of their franchise for the future, assuming Howard re-signs after next season. As long as next year isn’t a total disaster, I’d say it’s a safe bet he does.

As trades go, this is obviously a win but it’s not as if they didn’t give up a valuable commodity in Bynum. Essentially, they traded in the #2 center n the league for #1. Yeah it’s a no-brainer for them, but it’s hardly the robbery everyone will make it out to be, at least as far as what the Lakers gave up.

Obvious as it may be, the Lakers are the big winner here, so much so that they may be the ultimate winner come next June.

The Sixers get Andrew Bynum and Richardson and give up Andre Iguodala, Moe Harkless and Nikola Vucevic and a 1st round pick.

This might be alot bigger for the 76ers than most people seem to realize. For the last two years, the Sixers have been a spunky talented team with alot of nice pieces but no real star player. Andre Iguodala can be brilliant at times but he’s hardly a superstar. By getting Bynum at what essentially amounts to a discount rate, they’re poised to make a leap from playoff also-ran to legit contender.

Of course, they also risk losing Bynum after next year just like the Lakers do with Howard. Even if Bynum splits, they got him for Iguodala, a guy they have been looking to unload for years and likely wasn’t in their future plans.

Of course, if Bynum really wants to be “the man” on a team with title aspirations, he can hardly do better than Philly at this point.

Starting next year, they can trot out a lineup of Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner, Jason Richardson, Thaddeus Young and Andrew Bynum, with a capable bench featuring Nick Young, Spencer Hawes, Dorrell Wright and Jodie Meeks. They’ve got youth, athleticism and alot of talent, and even if they pay what it takes to extend Bynum they’ll still be way under the salary cap after next year.

Really, I can’t say enough about what the Sixers accomplished here. 100% win for Philly on their end of this deal.

The Nuggets get Iguodala and give up Afflalo, Harrington and a first round pick

I’m struggling with this one.

We all know Denver has built a roster loaded with solid players, all of whom make reasonable money. It’s been obvious for the last few years that they had acquired enough pieces to fetch a star player and were likely just biding their time, waiting for the right one to become available.

At least that’s what I thought.

I mean, is Andre Iguodala, at 28 years old and with two years and thirty million dollars left on his contract, a wise investment? Since the Nugs were in the same situation as Philly (lots of good players, no great ones), is Iguodala the “star player” they need to take the next step.

Sorry, but I don’t think so.

Statistically, his scoring has dropped by five points per game in two years, from 17.1 in ’10 to 14.1 in ’11 to 12.4 last year. Physically, he’s a player whose games depends almost completely on his athleticism and at almost 29, the sand is draining out of the hourglass as we speak.

So really, why give up a player as solid on both sides of the ball, whose scoring has almost doubled in two years time (from 8.8 in ’10 to 15.2 last year), and is only making seven million dollars a year  for a guy who makes twice as much, is two years older and is only marginally more productive?

It’s puzzling to me. This move really runs counter to pretty much every move Denver has made post-Melo, and I struggle to see the logic in it. In the last few months they’ve spent 25 mil. a year on Javale McGee and Andre Iguodala while the rest of the roster makes about 35 million combined. I know the Nuggets face certain disadvantages trying to compete in the West, but is this the roster you really want to lock yourself into for the next few years? What is the ceiling for this team? 45 wins, maybe 50?

Honestly, I think they kind of panicked here. They had the assets and the cap room to play it cool and wait for a big fish. Andre Iguodala is a hell of a player, but he’s not that guy.

So if this trade were a race, I’d say the order of finish goes like this:

1) Lakers

2) 76ers

3) Magic

4) Nuggets

Of course, the real winner here is all of us. Finally, the Dwightmare is over.

Until next summer, that is.

 

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