Finally, we have a potential Dwight Howard trade that makes sense for everybody.
A source “with direct knowledge of the talks” told ESPN’s Marc Stein late Thursday that Howard will be sent to L.A. in a four-team deal involving the Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers and Denver Nuggets.
The Magic would receive Al Harrington, Arron Afflalo, Nikola Vucevic and a protected future first-round pick from the three other teams. Andre Iguodala would head to Denver, while Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson would land in Philly.
Stein reports that the Magic may also get the 76ers' 2012 No. 1 pick Moe Harkless.
While nothing has been confirmed, if this deal does go through, I think all four teams can feel satisfied. Here’s why:
Los Angeles Lakers
Acquire: Dwight Howard
Trade: Andrew Bynum, first-round pick
This is a dream come true for Lakers fans.
They are able to land the best center and defender in the league, and they don’t have to give up Pau Gasol. Fielding a lineup featuring Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Gasol and Howard is going to make a Miami-L.A. final seem destined to occur next June.
Who cares if they give up a mopey Bynum and a late draft pick?
Although if Howard doesn’t sign an extension after the year, this could end up being a disaster.
Acquire: Andrew Bynum, Jason Richardson
Trade: Andre Iguodala, Nikola Vucevic, Moe Harkless, first-round pick
What a great move this would be for the 76ers.
Giving up an aging Iguodala in exchange for the best young center in the league is a steal. While they aren’t assured of Bynum’s services for more than just the season, Philly has a decent shot of landing him long-term considering he grew up roughly an hour away in Plainsboro, N.J.
Do the 76ers need an established center? I think ESPN Stats & Info provides all of the evidence you need:
Andrew Bynum had more points, rebounds and blocks last season than 76ers big men Spencer Hawes, Kwame Brown and Lavoy Allen combined.—ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 10, 2012
Bynum is exactly what this team needs.
Losing a 21-year-old with potential like Vucevic hurts, but who knows if he’ll ever pan out. We already know what Bynum is capable of. The same can be said for Harkless, who had plenty of question marks entering the NBA draft. He is nothing more than a prospect at this point after only one year of college experience.
Taking on the bad contract of Richardson is not a big deal. He averaged 11.6 points last year and has a ton of playoff experience to add on a young Sixers team. He can also fill the leadership void left by Iguodala.
Acquire: Andre Iguodala
Trade: Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, first-round pick
They get rid of Harrington and his less-than-stellar contract, and they part ways with a guy in Afflalo who simply hasn’t performed very well in the postseason. They have a very deep roster and both players leaving can be replaced.
In return, they get a premiere perimeter defender who can guard the opponents’ best wing scorer while still being able to run the break on the Nuggets No. 1 ranked offense.
He has playoff and Olympic experience and would thrive in George Karl’s system. This is exactly the sort of player Denver needs right now, and they can create some cap space in the process.
Acquire: Al Harrington, Arron Afflalo, Nikola Vucevic, Moe Harkless, three first-round picks
Trade: Dwight Howard
The Magic would still be a playoff team with this trade.
Afflalo is a coming off a season where he averaged 15.2 points on 47-percent shooting in addition to being an above-average defender. And he’s only 26.
The 32-year-old Harrington averaged 14.2 points and 6.1 rebounds last year while dealing with nagging injuries. He is a tough veteran that can be a key cog for the Magic.
They get a center with loads of potential in Vucevic and a potentially explosive scorer in Harkless in addition to three first-round draft picks.
They wouldn’t be settling for a 50-cents-on-the-dollar trade for Howard. And really, isn’t the main goal at this point to move on from this ridiculous soap opera?
Orlando would stay competitive now while still getting a large return for the future.