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Dwight Howard to the Lakers, Finally: Did the Orlando Magic Get Enough?

ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 13:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic smiles during the game against the Miami Heat at Amway Center on March 13, 2012 in Orlando, 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 Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
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Brian KinelCorrespondent IIIDecember 5, 2016

Dwight Howard is officially a Los Angeles Laker. Thank you to Orlando for finally letting us move on from what seems like a decade-long story. I feel like we have bonded so well that I know the questions you have.

Could Orlando have gotten more in return for the three-time defensive player of the year?

Will Howard sign an extension now with the Lakers?

Are the Lakers now the best team in the West?

Just who is Nikola Vucevic?

I mean no disrespect to Mrs. Vucevic’s son, who was a fine player as a USC Trojan and the 16th pick in the 2011 draft, but the last question is connected to the first one. Did the Magic get enough in this trade?

Orlando will receive Arron Afflalo and Al Harrington from Denver, Vucevic and Moe Harkless—the 15th  pick in the 2012 draft—from Philadelphia and lottery protected first-round picks from the Lakers, Denver and Philadelphia.

The best way to judge the haul for the Magic in this trade is to compare it to what they had been offered previously. Assuming what we heard was true, it appears that Brooklyn’s offer months back was a better deal for the Magic, since they would have gotten Brook Lopez. If, in fact, the Magic could have gotten Bynum previously from the Lakers, and that deal appears to have been better since they did not get a quality big man in return for Howard.

It’s not quite that simple though. In today's NBA of the players running the show, Orlando was in a tough place because Howard made it clear he was leaving at the end of this coming season and originally said he would only sign long-term with the Nets.

Yeah, that gives the Magic lots of bargaining power.

Rookie general manager Rob Hennigan, seemingly just out of college, was faced with having to deal with one of the most difficult situations he will probably ever face in his career. This, barely a month after getting the job.

It’s easy to look back and say the Magic should have taken the Nets’ offer. It’s tougher to make that decision in real time back then. I recall comments about that offer not being enough for Howard also.

It’s tough on a team when a player is public about leaving and the specific teams he will go to. Carmelo forced Denver to trade him to the Knicks, and that decimated the Knicks at the time. It probably would have been smarter for the Knicks to just wait and sign him when his contract was up, but they did not want to wait and risk him changing his mind.

That clearly was the issue for the Nets about Dwight Howard. Given his immature handling of this whole situation—they were right. They signed Joe Johnson, extended Lopez and Deron Williams and moved on.

Will Howard sign an extension with the Lakers? No.

Will Howard end up staying with the Lakers? Yes.

It makes no financial sense for Howard to sign an extension before becoming a free agent. He would give up millions. Expect him to become a free agent and then sign with the Lakers.

I know there’s talk of all the cap room Dallas will have next summer. Unless this season in Los Angeles is a disaster for Howard, he will stay in purple and gold.

Are the Lakers now the best team in the West?

Quite a contrast to a year ago when they had and then did not have Chris Paul. They now have Steve Nash and Dwight Howard for Andrew Bynum.

Pretty nice.

I’m still leaning toward Oklahoma City being a better team over a seven-game series, but boy, it’s by a hair. The fact that Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Serge Ibaka are under 24 is staggering to me. Last year’s trip to the Finals will only help them, as will the Olympic experience all four are getting.

Dwight Howard is a Laker. Wow. Tired of stars gathering on a few teams? Get used to it. It is what it is. Now we get to see if he can get on the Mt. Rushmore of Laker centers: George Mikan, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O'Neal. What do you think?

 

Follow me on Twitter@sprtsramblngman

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