As everybody probably knows by now the NBA’s best center Dwight Howard was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in a 4 team deal that seems to be good for only 3 of them. Here is the exact trade as reported by Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski
“The Lakers will send All-Star center Andrew Bynum to the Philadelphia 76ers, who also will receive shooting guard Jason Richardson from the Magic. The Sixers will send guard Andre Iguodala to the Denver Nuggets. The Magic will receive Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Nikola Vucevic, rookie swingman Moe Harkless, forward Josh McRoberts, forward Christian Eyenga, a first-round pick from either the Nuggets or the New York Knicks in 2014, a protected first-round pick from the Sixers, a protected first-round pick from the Lakers in 2017, a second-round pick from the Nuggets in 2013 and a conditional second-rounder from the Lakers in 2015. In addition to Howard, the Lakers will also receive Earl Clark and Chris Duhon from the Magic.”
So lets do a team by team analysis on who got better or worse in this deal:
Nuggets: Recieved: Andre Iguodala Lost: Aaron Afflalo, Al Harrington, possible 2014 1st rd pick, 2013 2nd rd pick
As angry as old man Greisman might be about his Nuggets giving away his hero in Aaron Afflalo, little does the old man know that they got a better player back in Andre Iguodala. AI, who was an olympian for the USA is one of the best defenders in the game (I’d probably have him top 5) and will also bring great athleticism to the Nuggets. He’s not a great offensive player but he is decent enough just because he is so good in general, but that is far from his strength.
What they lose is a solid SG in Afflalo whom I like and was signed at a decent price as well as a backup SF/PF type in Harrington whom I’m not a real fan of, primarily because he is just a gunner that doesn’t add much else to the squad. While AI will be an upgrade over Afflalo, he certainly will be missed while Harringtons are pretty common in the NBA and is really just a depth guy. I didn’t really feel like looking into the details for the draft picks but the possible 1st round pick seems like a coin flip that they will have to give it up and it will be a late one anyways and the 2nd round pick isn’t worth really anything.
I like this trade for the Nuggets for a few reasons. First off Iggy makes the Nuggets maybe the most athletic team in the league with the combination of Lawson,Iggy,Faried, and McGee. It also has the potential to make them a fierce defensive team (even though McGee is overrated in that sense). As much as the Nuggets liked to get up and down the court last season, it will be even more so this year as you get the ultimate athletic up and down guy with Iggy as he excels in the open court. The 2nd reason that I like this deal for the Nuggets is because of the fact that they upgraded at a starting position. This sounds simplistic but basically they traded depth for an upgrade. One of the biggest problems with the Nuggets last years that while they had a very deep team, their starting lineup was just average. They had a lot of “decent” guys, but didn’t have any all-stars. In today’s era of super teams, you really can’t win without an all-star on your team. While multiple all-stars are obviously preferable, this is at least a start. The last way to look at this deal is financially. For the next 2 years Harrington/Afflalo = Iggy, but in the 3rd year Iggy comes off the books and Afflalo/Harrington are still under contract for about 15 million. For a team in need of a true superstar, the 15 million that comes off the cap will come in handy if they don’t want to sign the already 30 year old Iggy.
My only problem with Iggy is that he is a very good player but not offensively talented enough to be the best player on his team like his contract dictates. Not only that but he also plays a position (SG/SF) where he has to be an excellent scorer (see Kobe/MJ/Lebron) to truly be a championship contender. Because of this I still don’t really consider the Nuggets true contenders, but they have improved in my opinion.
Bottom line is that they traded 3 years of a solid player and an average player for 2 years of a very good player. For a team that has a lot of depth and 0 stars, I think this is a good deal. Iggy isn’t good enough to be the star of a team however so I don’t know how much this moves them up in the West. They are definitely behind the Lakers and Thunder and are right in the Spurs/Clippers/Grizzlies area, but this trade could make for a playoff series win.
76ers- Received: Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson. Lost: Andre Iguodala, Moe Harkless, Nikola Vucevic, protected 1st round pick
So the Sixers gave up a very good player in Iggy and a couple of young prospects for easily the 2nd best center in the league and an underrated SG. Basically this whole trade for the Sixers hinges on whether or not Philly can re-sign Bynum to a long term deal. Bynum is in the last year of his contract and he said he is leaning toward re-signing with the Sixers long term but without that obviously this trade is pretty terrible for them so for the rest of this post I am going to assume that Bynum is good for his word (Sixers had to think he would re-sign to make this trade) and stay in Philadelphia for the next 5+ years.
Basically I like this trade for the Sixers for a similar reason that I liked it for the Nuggets. While Iggy is an upgrade over Afflalo, Bynum is an upgrade over Iggy. They obviously don’t play the same position but the structure that winning teams are using these days is getting 2 or 3 stars and just building around them. Bynum is a star and will be for the next 10 years as long as he keeps his head on straight. Not only is he very good, but he plays a position that lacks any sort of depth outside of him and Dwight which makes him the 2nd best center by a mile. So now the Sixers have acquired a guy who will be a top 2 center for the next 10 years as he is only 24.
How he fits into the Sixers will be interesting because they are a very different team from last year. Gone is Elton Brand and Lou Williams and with Spencer Hawes as their starting center they pretty much how no lost post offense and their guards were their primary scorers. With Bynum here they now have probably the best low post scorer in the game and with the additions of Nick Young/Jason Richardson/Dorell Wright, they now have some shooters to give him some space down low. Their long term prognosis is a little bit more blurry however as it looks like they are going to try and build around the young core of Turner/Holiday/Bynum. Not a horrible idea as they are all good young players (Bynum being very good) I just don’t know if that core will ever necessarily make you championship contenders. That seems like a conference final ceiling team to me but as long as Bynum signs long-term, they automatically should just start building around him and if the 2 guards fit in with the plan than good but if not then use free agency/trades to get the necessary players to compliment Bynum to make them championship contenders.
Really I think the 76ers came out the 2nd best team in this trade after the Lakers and could end up being the big winner in this trade if they are able to re-sign Bynum and Howard leaves the Lakers after a year. If they are able to sign Bynum they will have one of the top 2 centers in the league for the next 5-10 years and a great player to build around. There is probably less than 10 players in the league right now that you can really build around and now they have one for the forseeable future if he re-signs. And they got him for the price of a couple of prospects and a very good 30 year old SG that would have probably led them to a 1st round defeat anyways. Big win for the Sixers.
Lakers- Received: Dwight Howard, Earl Clark, Chris Duhon. Lost: Andrew Bynum, Josh McRoberts, protected/conditional future 1st and 2nd rd pick.
Alright so all the extras here aren’t worth a lot, McRoberts and Duhon are probably somewhat equal in value though Duhon won’t get a ton of time with Nash and Blake in the fold. Earl Clark isn’t good and neither draft pick will be high enough to have much value either. More or less this deal is Bynum for Howard. In my opinion they just traded the 2nd best center in the league for the best and he fits in better with the Lakers then Bynum did. While Bynum’s best asset is his offensive skills and his ability to score, Howard is an amazing defender, rim protector, and rebounder. While he can be fairly unstoppable at times when given enough post opportunities at times, he is can be very effective without touching the ball which is a very good thing when playing with Nash/Kobe/Gasol.
While Dwight would fit in well with pretty much any team with his skill set and effect on the game even without the ball, he fits in especially with Lakers. One of the biggest problems that people had with the Nash acquisition was that he doesn’t play any defense and won’t be able to stay in front of any of the great point guards that the western conference has to offer. Well now he doesn’t really have to because he has the human eraser behind him. He also matches well with a Pau Gasol who is a finesse player who is only average defensively but for skilled on the offensive end. Howard basically negates any defensive liabilities on the Lakers which is a huge difference for an older team.
Offensively it will be interesting to see how the Lakers go about things because you have the gunner in Kobe, 2 very skilled offensive players in Nash and Gasol, and the best center in the league with Howard. I’m not going to shed any tears for them having too many offensive weapons but it could take a while for them to gel. I’ve already talked about how Nash and Kobe will have to get used to sharing the ball and while the adjustment won’t be as big with Howard joining the bunch (probably will be close to Bynum on the offensive end), it’s still an adjustment. Howard is more mobile than Bynum which will allow him to form a pretty unbelievable pick and roll combo with Nash. That should be fun to watch. Really it is just another go to play that the Lake Show now has at their discretion.
Like I said, this trade basically comes down to giving up Andrew Bynum for D Howard. Now this has short and long term ramifications. For next year I think it’s an upgrade because Howard is a better defender/rebounder and similar offensively making him the better player at the current time. Long term really depends on who would re-sign with them. If they think there is a better chance that Howard would re-sign with them than Bynum, than it’s an even better deal. If Howard doesn’t re-sign than people will criticize this trade (especially if they don’t win the ship) but really who knows if Bynum would have either. If they do win a ship then this trade will be highly lauded but who knows if the same would have happened if Bynum was there instead of Dwight. Either way though I definitely think it’s an upgrade this year and if they can re-sign Dwight long term then this trade is a huge win for the Lake show.
Magic- Received: Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Nikola Vucevic, rookie swingman Moe Harkless, forward Josh McRoberts, forward Christian Eyenga, a first-round pick from either the Nuggets or the New York Knicks in 2014, a protected first-round pick from the Sixers, a protected first-round pick from the Lakers in 2017, a second-round pick from the Nuggets in 2013 and a conditional second-rounder from the Lakers in 2015. Lost: Dwight Howard, Chris Duhon, Jason Richardson, Earl Clark.
So it looks like the Magic got a ton for losing Dwight but as I’m sure you have heard by now, they really didn’t. They basically got a solid SG for the next 3 years (when they won’t be good anyways) and 4 or 5 mid to late 1st round picks over the next 4 or 5 years. While that may also seem like a lot, non-lottery picks aren’t really worth a whole lot in the NBA as most of them turn out to be role players and there are plenty of them in the NBA. Basically the whole reason why this trade was so horrible for the Magic was because they got so little value for a player who is probably the most valuable in the league.
The only solid player they got was Afflalo and he is only under contract for a few more years and with the squad they have now, they won’t have the chance to be good again until his contract is basically over. For Dwight they needed to get somebody to build around in the future like Philly did, instead they got a bunch of middling picks who probably will be busts or just compliments. Out of those 4 or 5 picks, they would be lucky to get 2 or 3 solid contributors for them in the future, to get a star to build around would be rare but possible. They didn’t even trade Turkoglu who is making a ton of money for very little production over the next 2 seasons and is badly hurting their cap situation because of it. So not only did they not get anybody to build around but they also didn’t even really help their cap situation that much. If they had taken the Nets deal than they would have at least gotten Lopez out of the deal but now they are left with nothing to build around for the future and not a ton of cap space either.
I guess one silver lining of this deal is that it guaranteed the Magic a high lottery pick as this is now one of the worst teams in the NBA. Their best player is Arron Afflalo? Ouch. They got very little of value in this trade and have basically guaranteed themselves the lottery for at least 3 years. If they play their cards right they could have a decent young team in a couple of years that will then be a few years away from contending but for now they just screwed themselves.