August 10, 2012
The Dwight Howard saga has finally come to an end. The Los Angeles Lakers come out as the winners for the big man. They also come out of the deal being arguably the best team in the NBA. The Lakers have pulled off a four team trade with the Magic, Sixers, and Nuggets that lands Dwight Howard as well as Chris Duhon and Earl Clark in Los Angeles. The Sixers acquired Andrew Bynum from the Lakers in the deal as well as Jason Richardson. The Nuggets acquired Andre Igoudala in the trade. The Magic acquired Aaron Affalo, Al Harrington, Moe Harkless, Nikola Vucevic, and three protected first round picks.
The Lakers instantly become the favorites in the Western Conference with this blockbuster trade. The Lakers get the best center in the NBA in Superman, as well as a backup point guard in Duhon and a backup forward in Earl Clark. Howard gives the Lakers another superstar big man, something they know all about. Howard joins Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Shaquille O’Neal as superstar centers to play for the Lakers. The deal comes as a steal for the Lake Show who only had to give up their young center Andrew Bynum and a protected first round pick. That draft pick will most likely be one of the last in the first round.
With the addition of Steve Nash at point guard this offseason as well the Lakers starting lineup becomes scary to its opponents. With a starting lineup of future Hall of Famer Steve Nash, future Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant, defensive specialist Metta World Peace, All Star Pau Gasol, and now Dwight Howard, the Lakers are now favorites to give the Thunder all they can handle and give the Heat a run for their money as well. The Lakers also have the depth that they lacked last year. With the addition of Duhon and Clark to already join a bench which consists of Steve Blake, Andrew Goudeluck, Devin Ebanks, Jordan Hill, and Antwan Jamison, the Lakers become extremely dangerous all the way around.
Mitch Kupchak deserves a round of applause for getting this trade done. The fact the Lakers got this deal done is incredible. They were able to get the necessary third and fourth teams to let this trade happen and work out financially. That was something the Brooklyn Nets were unable to do. The trade happens at the perfect time for the Lakers as Kobe Bryant’s career is not far from coming to an end. Bryant turns 34 in two weeks and entered the league when he was just 19. The five time NBA Champion has a couple of good years left in him before he might call it quits. Bryant’s arthritic right knee will not have more than three to four years left. That leaves him just enough time to get a couple of more rings which would put him past the greatest to every play the game.
With five rings, Kobe Bryant is just one away from tying Michael Jordan with six NBA Championships. Bryant has a chance to top arguably the greatest player in NBA history for Larry O’Brien trophies. The talk of the greatest player in NBA history could soon include Kobe Bryant if it does not already. The Lakers shot to win is right now in these next three years where Bryant, Nash, Gasol, and Howard will all play in the same lineup. That means Bryant could soon need a second hand for his jewelry.
The addition of Dwight Howard takes some pressure off of Bryant and allows him to nearly get the ball to anyone and have a good shot at coming up with points. Bryant will look on the outside to find All Star point guard and assist machine, Steve Nash. He can look inside to find the two best centers in the league inside in Howard and Gasol. If that doesn’t work out, Kobe did average 28 points a game last year and happens to be one of the most clutch players to ever put on a uniform in the National Basketball Association. Not to mention, the Lakers bench is deep. They have a roster that is 12 men deep. Steve Blake is a starting point guard on a lot of other NBA teams. Jordan Hill was a solid contributor for them last year. Antwan Jamison is still a guy who is a starter on any other team and a former NBA All Star.
This trade comes as great news to Lakers fans, but comes as disaster for the rest of the league. The next three to four years now become LeBron versus Kobe talk. The Lakers and Heat become title favorites. The Thunder are without a doubt right behind these two as they are young and only going to get better. With the depth that Los Angeles and Miami have, it is hard to see anybody else topping those disgustingly good teams.
While the Staples Center will be an automatic sell out every night, the Amway Center in Orlando might have to start giving away tickets this season. Every night in Orlando will be a ghost town. 30 year old General Manager Rob Hennigan did a horrific job in this trade. The Brooklyn Nets offer would have given the Magic so much more than what they got in this deal. Orlando would have gotten Brook Lopez, MarShon Brooks, and possibly Kris Humphries from the Nets. The Magic end up not getting Andrew Bynum or Pau Gasol in this deal and have a depleted starting lineup. While the Magic did clear up some big salaries, they could have gotten so much more for Howard and they failed to do so. They got some good young pieces in Affalo and Harkless and could be good way down the road, but right now the Magic roster is mediocre at ebst. The Magic come up as big losers in this trade while the Lakers come out not only as winners, but could possibly come out as NBA Champions.