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Orlando Magic trade C Dwight Howard and F Hedo Turkoglu to New York Knicks for F Amar'e Stoudemire, C Tyson Chandler and G Iman Shumpert
Ah, Dwight Howard. The prize of 2012 free agency and someone you know would be mentioned in an article of this nature.
Which makes that one rumor regarding "Brook Lopez and two first-round picks for Dwight Howard" one of the most unintentionally hilarious and outrageous rumors of 2011.
Seriously. Somebody reported and acknowledged that rumor with a straight face.
Considering what the Denver Nuggets (Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Timofey Mozgov, 2014 and 2016 first-round picks) and New Orleans Hornets (Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman, Al-Farouq Aminu, Minnesota's unprotected 2012 first-round pick) got for Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul, respectively, "Brook Lopez and two first-round picks" does not even begin to describe the kind of compensation Orlando should get for Howard.
The fact that Howard was fine with the idea of going to the Nets shows that he is ready to embrace the New York market. The other teams on the alleged "list" he gave to Orlando GM Otis Smith were the Lakers and Mavericks.
Dallas, with a roster whose average age is over 33 years old, simply doesn't have the assets to get a deal done.
The Lakers, with Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and all their first-round picks in tow, are definitely the front-runners now for Howard.
That's until the Knicks decide to grow a sack and make Amar'e Stoudemire available.
The 28-year-old Stoudemire could be the best player the Magic can get for Howard at this point given his age and production. Gasol is 31 while Bynum is injured all the time. Stoudemire, on the other hand, was in the midst of a career year before the Knicks traded for Anthony in February.
Adding Melo to the mix complicated things for New York. Both he and Amar'e have been referred to as "ball-stoppers" over and over again, and it can't be said enough.
New York has struggled to incorporate both superstars into a steady offense, something that has been compounded by the fact that there isn't a point guard on the roster capable of utilizing the two simultaneously.
Howard gives New York the league's best defensive player to go with arguably the best offensive player in Anthony.
Their styles don't get in each other's way. It also opens up a good six- to seven-year window for New York to win a championship with two strong franchise cornerstones with no lingering health issues. Melo will turn 28 after the season while Howard will be 26.
For Orlando, Stoudemire and Chandler come as close to matching Howard's frontcourt production as possible. The Knicks don't have any first-round picks to part with since they owe a lot of them in the coming years, so Shumpert—last year's first-round pick—comes closest to giving Orlando young talent in the deal.