After nearly a year of speculation and rumors involving fifty percent of NBA teams, Dwight Howard, the Magic and a 3rd party finally agreed on something!
In the trade of the summer, the Magic sent Dwight Howard to, surprise surprise, the LA Lakers in a 4-team, 12-player mega-deal. Oddly enough, Orlando probably got the worst return in the deal and couldn't manage to get the guy they supposedly wanted in Andrew Bynum. The Lakers' young center was part of the deal, but he'll be heading to Phily instead of Orlando because apparently the Magic didn't have a shot at signing him long term. After looking at the players the Magic did get, it makes me wonder why they didn't pull the trigger on Howard before the deadline last season when they had much more reasonable deals on the table. The Nets were offering Brooke Lopez, Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks and a few unprotected draft picks to Orlando before the deadline, but instead, it will be Aaron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Nikola Vucevic and 3 picks heading to the Sunshine State. It's tough when your the clear losers in a deal that you give up your franchise player in, but that's exactly where the Magic find themselves after this one!
The winners in this deal, in my opinion, where each of the other three teams involved. The Lakers obviously make out the best, bringing in the NBA's top center and giving Kobe Bryant a force up front he hasn't had since Shaq. Add this deal on top of the trade they swung for Steve Nash last month, and the Lakers have reloaded exactly the way they wanted to this summer. I know they don't have the youngest team in the league, but they now have an element in Nash that they've never really had there during the Kobe years. The Lakers have never had that game-changing point guard, and it's going to take a huge load of pressure off Kobe Bryant. Sure, Bynum is also one of the top centers in the league, but he's not on the level Howard is yet, and Dwight better fits LA's immediate plans for contending. Not to mention it just didn't seem like Bynum was working out too well in LA. Kobe has said he'd like another ring or two before he hangs 'em up, and I their two deals this summer has put them in great position to do so.
Speaking of Bynum, he'll be playing the 2012-13 season with the 76ers, and they have every intention on keeping him around long term. Philly had to part with Andre Iguodala, who's one of the best all-around players in the league, but expendable when you have a shot at reeling in a guy like Bynum. Iguodala will heading to Denver.