Dwight Howard. Dwight “Superman” Howard. Dwight “the Man Child” Howard… is coming to the Los Angeles Lakers. In a four team deal agreed upon early Thursday evening, the Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers. Philadelphia 76ers and Denver Nuggets have created a deal that would send Howard to the Lakers. The Lakers will ship Andrew Bynum to the 76ers while Orlando will send Jason Richardson to Philly. In return Philly will send Andre Iguodala to the Nuggets. Finally, the Magic will receive Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Nikola Vucevic, Moe Harkless and one future first-round draft pick from each of the other teams involved.
Dwight Howard has maintained his initial position, stating that he will not sign an extension with the Lakers, meaning he will become a free agent at the end of next season.
As a Lakers fan, I can honestly say this is an incredible deal. The Lakers got rid of a player who was not willing to give the game 100% of his effort every night, for a player who is known for just the opposite. In addition to that, they manage to hold on to Pau Gasol, making the Lakers 2012-2013 starting line-up look like: Steve Nash and Kobe in the back court; Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard in the front court. Wow. Move over Miami, the Lakers are officially the favorite to win a title next year.
The Magic also benefit from this deal in that they shed cap space by trading Dwight and Jason Richardson, while also allowing themselves room for growth with all those incoming draft picks.
Meanwhile, the Sixers have improved their team across the board. They get the second best center in the league in Bynum, a decent wing player in Richardson and in addition to that have a majority of their roster from last year still intact. Although they won’t beat Miami in a 7 game series, they will definitely cause them problems with the talent they just received.
Finally, Denver benefits from the trade by upgrading their roster while simultaneously decreasing their spending. It’s very rare that a GM is capable of doing both things successfully, but Masai Ujiri has definitely done well for himself with this trade.
Now, many are thinking: “If Dwight won’t sign an extension, then there is potential that he will walk at the end of the season and the Lakers have given up a player with tremendous up-side for nothing.”
To those skeptics, I say relax. Although Dwight won’t sign an extension, the Lakers now hold his Larry Bird rights, meaning they can offer him more money than any other team in the league during his free agency. Furthermore, Mitch Kupchak has proven time and time again that he doesn’t make poor moves. In fact, IF people think it is a poor move, that helps him surprise the league even more (think trading Caron Butler for Kwame Brown… then turning Kwame Brown into Pau Gasol and two NBA Championships).
To me, the real MVP of all of this is Mitch Kupchak. He has consistently proven that he is one of the best, if notÂ the best
general manager in the NBA. By securing Dwight in this trade, he showed he is not only thinking about the Lakers’ near future, but is also considering what the team will look like 5 to 7 years from now. He has made brilliant move after brilliant move since trading Shaq away (I’m NOT including that as a brilliant move) whether the trade is vetoed (eh-hem CP3) or not. Once again, he has managed to shock the league and the world with his ability to make sure that the Lakers are always in the conversation for title contention.
Until next time…