By now I’m sure you’re all aware that Dwight Howard has been traded to the LA Lakers, so I’ll skip my usual rambling and get to the point.
Here’s what all four parties are (so far) believed to have received in the deal:
LA Lakers get: Dwight Howard, Chris Duhon, Earl Clark
Orlando Magic get: Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Nikola Vucevic, Moe Harkless and three future No.1 picks (one from each team, varying protections)
Philadelphia 76ers get: Andrew Bynum, Jason Richardson
Denver Nuggets get: Andre Iguodala
What this means for the Lakers: It means that they now have the best paper starting 5 in the league. As good as LeBron and Wade are – the Lakers have 4 legit All-Star caliber guys on their squad, all of whom actually (theoretically) mesh pretty well with each other. For the next couple of years at least the Lakers will continue to be amongst the elite teams of the NBA, barring injury or Nash/Kobe becoming old very quick. You have to imagine David Stern is fist pumping at the thought of a Lakers/Heat Finals now.
With that said…I’m interested to see how Dwight and Kobe react. Dwight has shown himself over the past year or so to be whiny, narcissistic and overly concerned with his self image and with a constant need to be pandered to. Add this to his questionable work ethic and desire to improve and I can’t help but wonder if we’re gonna be seeing Kobe-Shaq 2.0. in a few years.
What this means for the Sixers: The most interesting part is going to be watching Andrew Bynum in Philly. On talent alone, he’s the second best big man in the league. However, there’s a reason Orlando didn’t want to do a simple Howard/Bynum + cheaper asset swap. Over his career Bynum has developed a rep for being soft and injury prone, and a whiny malcontent when he’s on the court. For his entire career up to now he’s had a fairly easy job as the second/third option on the Lakers behind Kobe and been coddled by the Laker brass. In Philly, that’s gonna change. He’s going to have to grow up pretty quickly and adjust to being the No.1 option on that Sixers squad, while managing the expectations of a disciplinarian head coach in Doug Collins.
To get a second opinion I texted my Sixer fan and Philly-native boy Al for his opinion. His response: “Its not gonna work. Philly fans don’t take well to whiny little douchebags like Bynum. They’ll eat him up and he’ll run at the end of the year.”
A pessimistic take, but one I agree with. Philadelphia, more than any other sports city in the USA, expects 100% from every player on every team every time they do anything. When they don’t (and if they don’t show the fans love) they get mad and are not afraid to show it. They loved and still love Allen Iverson for this reason. How Bynum adjusts to this challenge will make or break this trade for the Sixers. Either it makes them a legit Eastern Conference contender or they’re screwed.
What this means for the Nuggets: Since they dumped Al Harrington’s bloated deal and upgraded from Aaron Afflalo to Andre Iguodala…I’d say they made out like bandits. It doesn’t make them a title contender, but in Iggy they finally have a guy to shut down Kevin Durant in the Western playoffs. A Conference Finals game isn’t out of the equation in Denver within the next few years.
What This means for the Magic: A long rebuilding process begins here. The internet is ripping the Orlando front office for taking this offer but its clear that they’re looking at a total rebuild of the squad, and in that case this isn’t such a bad deal. You don’t ever get back equal value (or anything resembling it) for a superstar unless James Dolan and Isiah Thomas are involved.
What you can get is a building block in Afflalo (a good, underrated young 2 guard who plays defense), a couple of young guys in Vucevic (who I like) and Harkless (who I don’t) and a few mid to late 1st draft picks for the future. New GM Rob Hennigan is clearly following his mentor Sam Presti in his approach to building a team. Whether he has the luck of a Presti or Dell Demps in landing high draft picks at the right time remains to be seen.
Other Parties: Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey’s quest to land a superstar with his bunch of trade assets is probably over, as it doesn’t look like there’s many guys who will be available any time soon. Expect to see a full-bore rebuild in Houston soon – Morey is a smart man and knows that if he can’t get a star through trade he probably needs to hope for one in the draft.
As for my Nets, I was not a fan of adding Dwight anyway as I believe that we are the second best team in the Eastern Conference right now with our current roster. Adding Dwight would just rip our depth apart and bring his toxic personality on the team. We already have a superstar in Deron, and as I will discuss in upcoming weeks, that’s all you need.
Just a little (blatant) self promotion to end this article – I’ve recently started my own Brooklyn Nets blog. One thing I have found already is that the Nets media community is a lot more friendly and inclusive than the clique-ish and stat obsessed GSW mob were.
I will of course continue to write for NBAMate (and will do so until they shut down the site or Rob D and JT forcibly bar me), but I’ll be keeping my Nets-centric stuff on my own blog and mostly doing general NBA stuff for NBAMate. So if you want to hear about my man-crush on MarShon Brooks, my adjustment to life as a Nets fan from Australia or just want more of my rambling, hit me there and get your friends to follow me also.
Peace out hoez.