Dwight Howard Trade Reaction: Grading the Denver Nuggets

Jamal Collier@@JCollierDAnalyst IIIAugust 10, 2012

MIAMI, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic looks on during a game against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on February 19, 2012 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

According to ESPN, the Denver Nuggets helped facilitate the trade of superstar center Dwight Howard on Thursday night.

Howard, a perennial All-NBA defender, was traded from the Orlando Magic to the Los Angeles Lakers.

What the trade boils down to for the Nuggets is the exchange of a lottery-protected first-round pick, starting 2-guard Arron Afflalo and stretch-4 Al Harrington (all heading to Orlando) for swingman Andre Iguodala, formerly of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Denver has made the playoffs in nine straight seasons and boasts exceptional depth at multiple positions, so that first-rounder is as good as gone.

However, the deal is a financial win. The Nuggets gave Afflalo a five-year extension worth $43 million last December. Al Harrington is entering the third year of a five-year deal (worth $33.4 million) of his own.

According to HoopsHype.com, Iguodala is owed $14.7 million this season and has a player option for $15.9 million next year, which makes the salary numbers almost a wash in the short term.

In the long term, Denver frees itself of over $20 million in scheduled salary between 2014 and 2016.

The name recognition of Andre Iguodala is also likely to increase revenue for the Nuggets’ franchise.

On the floor, Iguodala replaces Afflalo as an excellent perimeter defender who can guard two or three positions well. The two players scored similarly last season (Iguodala: 12.4 PPG, Afflalo: 15.2 PPG), although Afflalo was more efficient.

The point guard depth in Denver, however, may open up Iguodala to move without the ball (5.5 APG last season) and score more effectively as well. If given enough minutes, he can be a 20-point-per-game scorer.

Harrington saw his minutes decline in the playoffs with the emergence of Kenneth Faried at power forward. He’ll be missed most as a big man off the bench who can stretch the floor and knock down the three-ball, but Danilo Gallinari will be able to fill that role at times throughout the season.

I doubt the Sixers would have seriously considered sending Iguodala directly to Denver in exchange for the services of Afflalo and Harrington, despite the presence of Evan Turner.

Overall, the Nuggets made out like bandits.