The Dwight Howard trade saga continues. Known recently as one of the biggest whiners and manipulators in the game, Howard has constantly found himself in the spotlight since this past year's trade deadline.
This has been quite the load to handle for Orlando’s brand new front office. Most new GMs are faced with the tough decision of cleaning house and starting over, but most GMs don’t walk into a situation with a player like Howard on their lineup. By announcing publicly that he would only be willing to sign an extension with the Brooklyn Nets, he has put his long time team Orlando Magic into quite the predicament.
He has basically left the Magic with two choices. First: Deal Howard to the Nets—their only option, as no one else will deal for him if he will not re-sign—or two: let him play through the season and see him walk in the offseason while getting nothing in return.
It seems as if the Magic have decided to at least get as much as possible for Dwight in the current circumstances, and have rekindled trade talks with the Nets.
The current proposed deal, according to involves a circus of revolving players and draft picks floating between four teams. Basically, here is how it will play out, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
Brooklyn gets: Orlando’s Dwight Howard, Jason Richardson and Earl Clark. The L.A Clippers would get Marshon Brooks from Brooklyn in exchange for a first round pick, which will go to Orlando.
Orlando gets: CLE’s Luke Walton, Brooklyn’s Brook Lopez, Damion James, Shelden Williams and Armon Johnson; along with Brooklyn’s 2015 and 2017 first round picks and the L.A Clippers 2013 lottery protected first round pick.
And finally, Cleveland would receive Brooklyn’s Kris Humphries, Sundiata Gaines, and Brooklyn’s 2013 first round pick and 3 million dollars cash .Along with Quentin Richardson from Orlando.
Now that is a lot of players and a lot of parts. A process this large is incredibly delicate, and could go south with the smallest snag.
In examining the current deal many may ask: Why would Cleveland do this? Why would just a few years after the assembly of Miami’s Big 3 would they facilitate another Big 3 in their own conference?
Well, in short, there are multiple reasons. Dwight Howard WILL eventually leave for Brooklyn. That is what he wants, and if Orlando can’t trade him then he will go there as a free agent after the season. In that case, Brooklyn’s Big 3 is only at best a season away from happening regardless.
So if Cleveland can make itself better, then why wouldn’t they? They barely give up anything besides some cap space, and they would receive a player who would potentially become their best current power forward in their lineup along with yet another first round draft pick. This fits right in with Cavs GM Chris Grant’s plan: acquire as many draft assets as possible during the rebuilding process to establish young talent and then supplement—when the time comes—with key free agency acquisitions.
Gaines and Richardson are both pieces that, while not big names, could help to add depth to the bench in key areas. Gaines would give us depth at the guard position, a spot that sorely needs help. Richardson on the other hand would give the Cavs a veteran wing presence coming off the bench. And as Jimmy Fallon says "Who doesn't want... more cash back?" Well besides the baby in those commercials everyone does and the Cavs would get three million back.
One of the biggest knocks I have heard from people about the Cavs side of the deal is taking on Kris Humphries. And this severely confuses me. Since when did it become a bad thing to acquire a player who averaged a double double?
Yes that’s right, Kris Humphries is actually an extremely underrated player nationally and has only obtained the current reputation in large part due to his nationally broadcasted debacle with ex-wife Kim Kardashian. Last year with the Nets, Humphries played in all 62 games, shot 48 percent, averaged 13.8 points per game, 11 rebounds per game, and had 1.2 blocks per game.
Tristan Thompson, the Cavs current starter at power forward, averaged 8.2 points, 6.5 rebounds and one block per game. Now TT has a ton of upside, but Humphries tops him in every category and could be a great asset to allow Thompson to develop without having the pressure of having to shoulder a huge load early in his career.
If Humphries isn’t enough to do this deal alone, the Cavs would also be walking away with yet another draft asset. So far in 2013 the Cavaliers own their own pick, Sacramento’s pick—which is top 13 protected—the Miami Heat’s first round pick (top ten protected) and have the right to swap either their own or the Miami pick with the Lakers first round pick, which will now be owned through Phoenix via the Steve Nash sign and trade.
If Chris Grant is able to land yet another draft pick, then the Cavaliers will have enough leverage to do some serious damage to do major trading in the draft, and also would have the pieces and salary space to make an acquisition for a proven veteran if the team shows they are one or two players away from contending at a high level.
With recent rumors from Wojnarowski that the Cavaliers are on Andrew Bynum's short list of teams for next offseason, the Cavs have even more pressure to not only acquire more assets but also to play at a high level to entice Bynum or any other big free agent to join their young core of talent. A lineup of Kyrie, Waiters, Gee/draft/Andy trade, TT and Zeller looks tempting to many as a future team to reckon with.
A championship is not in the works for this year, but with what Chris Grant has shown so far, one is definitely not too far down the road.