Saturday, August 11, 2012

Winners and Losers of the Dwight Howard Megadeal

     It's been a tumultuous year for not just Orlando Magic fans, but for NBA fans in general. If the spotlight wasn't on LeBron James and the Miami Heat, it was probably on Dwight Howard. In the span of one year, Dwight Howard asked to be traded, reiterated his trade demand, and signed a waiver which destroyed his chances at becoming a free agent this summer. After that, he suffered a season-ending back injury, became one of the reasons why his Magic coach Stan Van Gundy and general manager Otis Smith got fired, and demanded to be traded to the Brooklyn Nets. New general manager Rob Hennigan could not convince Howard to stay, and after attempting to make deals with the Nets and Rockets, the Magic sent Howard and his bags packing yesterday to Los Angeles so he could be a member of the Lakers. It required a four team trade to make this blockbuster deal work including the Magic, Lakers, Nuggets and 76ers. Let's look at all the pieces of the deal and determine who were the winners and losers.


Dwight Howard in his first press conference as a
Los Angeles Laker.
Who they got: Dwight Howard, Chris Duhon, Earl Clark.

Winner or Loser: Winner, for now.

Why the Lakers won: How much richer can the rich possibly get? This summer, the Lakers have managed to acquire three All Star talents in Dwight Howard, Steve Nash and Antawn Jamison. Howard is the best center in the NBA with incredible talents in the paint. He can block any shot, rebound, and draw double teams to get others open. If Howard got players like Ryan Anderson to look as good as he did, imagine what he could be like with Kobe Bryant. This team was a candidate to reach the Finals when they acquired Nash, but now with Howard on board, the Lakers are expected to reach and win the NBA Finals. This year is championship or bust for the Lakers. Also, what if Dwight Howard chooses to leave next summer? The Lakers organization has boasted to the public that they believe Howard will re-sign with them next summer. If he leaves for an organization like Dallas, Atlanta, or Brooklyn, it will devastate the Lakers' future that is already hanging in the balance. Not to mention, Howard won't even be ready for the start of the season, as he is still rehabbing from back surgery. When he returns, it's no guarantee that he will be playing at 100 percent. All of this is why, at the moment, the Lakers are winners. But, it can all change.


Moe Harkless is one of the key pieces Orlando
received in the Dwight Howard trade.
Who they got: Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Maurice Harkless, Nikola Vucevic, Josh McRoberts, Christian Eyenga, three protected draft picks: Lakers first round pick (2017), Lakers second round pick (2015), 76ers first round pick (2015), and two unconditional draft picks from Denver: a 2013 second round pick and 2014 first round pick.

Winner or Loser: Loser.

Why the Magic lost: When the original framework of the deal was leaked to the public, I had thought this was the worst trade made in the history of the Orlando franchise. However, they did get rid of a couple bad contracts in Chris Duhon and Jason Richardson. But, they inherited a bad contract in Al Harrington and three of the five draft picks they acquired in the deal are protected, which means they won't get the higher echelon draft picks they desire. They got two nice future pieces in Harkless and Afflalo, but the four other players are all question marks. GM Rob Hennigan wants to build his team through the draft, so that's why he didn't acquire an All Star, but I was surprised he did not attempt to pry other young prospects like Kenneth Faried and Quincy Miller from Denver or Andrew Goudelock and Robert Sacre from Los Angeles. The Magic's objective was to shed cap room, but in the trade, they only shed about $5 million in cap room. They still have some bad contracts on the team that need to be traded, and this might not have been the best trade offer the Magic were presented. In the end, though, trading Dwight Howard was a move this team had but no choice to make.


Who they got: Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson

Winner or Loser: Loser

Can Andrew Bynum be the first option in Philadelphia after having a career
year in Los Angeles?

Why the 76ers lost: You would think getting a top-tier center and veteran swingman in a trade would make your team a winner in this deal, right? Wrong. In the deal, the 76ers traded their on-court leader in Andre Iguodala. They also traded two young future pieces in Maurice Harkless and Nikola Vucevic. Granted, Vucevic would not be able to accumulate many minutes with Bynum on the roster, but I thought they drafted Harkless so he could replace Iguodala. However, they have depth at the small forward position with Dorell Wright and Thaddeus Young. But, here's why they are really losers in the deal. Jason Richardson is a veteran swingman with a lengthy, expensive contract. At shooting guard, the Sixers already have a young star in Evan Turner and notorious ball hog Nick Young. Richardson, if he plays, will only steal minutes from Turner and Young. And if he doesn't play, he will lose any trade value and will be hard to move. But, the biggest piece in this trade besides Howard is Philadelphia's new center, Andrew Bynum. There is no denying Bynum's talent, but he has some maturity and health concerns. He will also test free agency this summer, along with starting point guard Jrue Holiday. Both are looking to sign max contracts, so do the Sixers have enough cap room to be able to sign these two young cornerstones to max deals? This team is without question talented enough to make the playoffs, but they have a lot of critical decisions to make throughout the next year.


Andre Iguodala stated his main focus is on getting the
gold medal, but being traded has to be distracting, right?
Who they got: Andre Iguodala

Winner or Loser: Winner

Why the Nuggets won: The Nuggets are a generally young team, so giving away two draft picks does not seriously derail any future plans. This team was in need of an All Star veteran leader, and that is just what Iguodala is. At shooting guard, Afflalo is a better scorer, but Iguodala is a better rebounder, playmaker, and defender. The Nuggets got an upgrade at shooting guard and rid of a bad contract in Al Harrington. Denver was in need of a true on-court leader, and they got exactly that with Iguodala. Sure, this team will not be championship contenders, but with a proven floor general in his prime in Iguodala, four budding stars in Ty Lawson, Danilo Gallinari, Kenneth Faried and Javale McGee, and an intelligent, respected coach in George Karl, the Nuggets are very much headed in the right direction after trading superstar Carmelo Anthony in 2011.

     The Dwight-mare is finally over, for now. During the next season, NBA fans might be able to hold their breath, unless they're screaming at the television because of all the talk about the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat. But, there are still many questions arising in these four franchises involved in this trade. Can Dwight Howard help lead the Lakers to the title? If not, will he stay in the City of Angels? What about Andrew Bynum? Can he be the main guy in Philadelphia? What steps do the Nuggets have to take to contend after obtaining Andre Iguodala? And was this the best trade Orlando can do? Are they truly headed in the right direction? Only time will be able to answer these questions. This season has many storylines and is figuring to be an entertaining one! Stay tuned for all the latest NBA-related news here on The Ski Report.

No comments:

Post a Comment