After months of speculation, Dwight Howard is reportedly on his way to Los Angeles.
For real this time. The news comes from ESPN:
A source with direct knowledge of the talks told ESPN.com's Marc Stein the Lakers will receive Howard, the Denver Nuggets will acquire Andre Iguodala, the 76ers will receiveAndrew Bynum and Jason Richardson, and the Magic will get Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Nikola Vucevic and one protected future first-round pick from each of the other three teams.
Alex Kennedy of HOOPSWORLD noted that the deal might even be sweeter for Orlando:
The Orlando Magic will receive AT LEAST three first-round picks. Source says they may get a fourth pick as well.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) August 10, 2012
Moments later, ESPN Tweeted that the deal is ready to be done by Friday morning:
Sources: Trade call w/league office has been scheduled for Fri. morning to process 4-team Dwight-Howard-to-Lakers deal (via @espnsteinline)— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) August 10, 2012
Let's take a closer look at this huge development.
What it Means
First of all, it means the Lakers have the potential to be scary good. You may hate Dwight Howard for the last eight or so months he has bestowed on all of us, but there's still no question that he is the most dominant center in the league.
Should this trade go through, that means at some point this season you will see a Steve Nash-Kobe Bryant-Antawn Jamison-Pau Gasol-Dwight Howard lineup on the floor.
The 76ers, who just re-signed painfully inconsistent center Spencer Hawes to a two-year deal, can now send him to the bench to make way for Andrew Bynum, who should make for a very good inside-outside duo with Jrue Holiday.
The Nuggets get Andre Iguodala, Team USA member and arguably the best perimeter defender in the league. Putting his athleticism next to Ty Lawson, Danilo Gallinari and Kenneth Faried is going to be fun to watch, that much I know.
Lastly, you have the Magic. They have reportedly come close to taking some pretty uninspiring packages in return for their star center, and while this one isn't fantastic, it's better than what the Nets or Cavs would have given them.
Arron Afflalo and Al Harrington are established players in this league while Nikola Vucevic, although he struggled his rookie year, and three first-round picks is a good way to rebuild.
Best of all for the Magic, they get rid of Jason Richardson's contract and don't take on any other huge ones (ahem, Brook Lopez), so the future is still wide open.
Once again, the Lakers will be title contenders. The Thunder and Spurs are still forces in the West, but as long as all of these new pieces gel correctly in L.A., the Lake Show are going to be tough to beat.
Are they better than Miami? Too early to say, but the top tier of the NBA just took another step away from the middle class.
The Nuggets and Sixers, obviously, both got better as well. Denver gets a defensive presence who knows how to play the up-tempo game while Philly gets a much (much, much, much) needed big man who can put the ball in the hoop.
Orlando, well, Orlando had to make a deal and it got what it could get. Most importantly, it got rid of the poison that Dwight Howard had become and can finally look to the future.