The Dwight Howard drama has taken an interesting turn now that two more teams have been introduced into the mix.
Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers, Denver Nuggets and Philadelphia 76ers are involved in trade talks that would send the All-Star center all the way across the country:
A deal is not considered imminent, but the talks have grown serious over the course of this week, sources said.
There are other players involved in these fluid talks, but a framework of the possible deal includes Howard and Denver forward Al Harrington going to the Lakers, Philadelphia guard Andre Iguodala going to the Nuggets, Los Angeles center Andrew Bynum moving to the 76ers, and Los Angeles forward Pau Gasol and Denver guard Arron Afflalo going to the Magic, sources told Yahoo! Sports.
So, let's break down how this would affect each of the four teams involved.
Obviously, the Orlando Magic would be freeing themselves of the Dwightmare, and they'd be doing so more than a few months before Christmas.
Moving Dwight Howard is inevitable during the first year of Rob Hennigan's tenure as the Orlando general manager. Therefore, it's all about getting the best deal possible.
The proposed framework of this trade involves losing Howard and gaining Pau Gasol and Arron Afflalo.
While Gasol is only declining as his age advances and clearly isn't a player to build around, he's still a valuable player. Moreover, Afflalo is young enough that he could still be a great player to build around.
This is about all that the Magic can hope for, especially if some draft picks change hands in the process as well.
Los Angeles Lakers
In Wojnarowski's reported deal, the Los Angeles Lakers are essentially exchanging Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum for Dwight Howard and Al Harrington.
As valuable as Howard is, he's not worth losing both Bynum and Gasol.
Bynum is only marginally worse than Howard at this stage of his career and is only getting better. There's a solid chance that he surpasses Superman as the best center in the game as soon as this season, even if he doesn't use Kryptonite to help him achieve his goal.
Additionally, Harrington is basically the same player as Antawn Jamison, who—last I checked—was already on the L.A. roster.
With Steve Nash running the show, I'd rather have the current set of twin towers in purple and gold, rather than force the issue and trade them for Howard and an aging, three-point shooting power forward.
This remains true even if Jason Richardson ends up moving along with Howard, as Wojnarowski suggests:
Orlando's Jason Richardson has been significant name in 4-way talks too, sources tell Y! There's a scenario where he goes with Howard to LA.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) August 9, 2012
The Denver Nuggets would essentially be replacing Al Harrington and Arron Afflalo with Andre Iguodala, a swap that the team shouldn't hesitate to make for even a second if the proposal is on the table.
Iggy would be able to immediately step into the starting lineup and replace Afflalo, giving the Nuggets an upgrade on both ends of the court. The swingman is one of the best perimeter defenders and he'd be a great option in a fast-break setting alongside Ty Lawson and Kenneth Faried.
Losing Harrington wouldn't hurt the team much either, as it would simply mean more responsibility from Faried and a possible two-center set with JaVale McGee and Timofey Mozgov at times.
I'm amazed that it took this long for the Philadelphia 76ers to enter into the Dwight Howard negotiations. Their lineup is set up quite nicely for them to serve as facilitators in the deal.
With as many wing players as the Sixers are currently employing on the roster, losing Andre Iguodala wouldn't be that big of a deal.
The level of talent at the shooting guard and small forward positions would go down, but Evan Turner, Nick Young, Dorell Wright and Maurice Harkless would be able to provide the quantity necessary to make up for the sudden lack of quality.
Acquiring Andrew Bynum would thrust this team into contention as well, as he'd be a huge upgrade over Kwame Brown at the 5.
A starting lineup of Jrue Holiday, Nick Young or Evan Turner, Dorell Wright, Spencer Hawes and Bynum would look rather nice out on the court.
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