Lakers Win Again Landing Dwight Howard From Orlando; Andrew Bynum To Sixers, Andre Iguodala To Denver

Ken Berger of CBS Sports on the  Lakers stealing Dwight Howard from Orlando in 4 team trade as Magic house cleaning continues:

EL SEGUNDO, CA - AUGUST 10:  Dwight Howard (L) is introduced to the media as the newest member of the Los Angeles Lakers by General Manager Mitch Kupchak during a news conference at the Toyota Sports Center on August 10, 2012 in El Segundo, California. The Lakers aquired Howard from Orlando Magic in a four-team trade. In addition, Lakers wil receive Chris Duhon and Earl Clark from the Magic.

In a stunning move that pushes Kobe Bryant ever closer to his sixth championship, the Lakers acquire Dwight Howard from the Orlando Magic in a blockbuster, four-team trade.

Yes, it’s Showtime again in L.A.

The deal was agreed to on Thursday night and approved on a conference call with NBA officials Friday morning, the Lakers complete a remarkable transformation that pairs Bryant with the top center in the game and a point guard, Steve Nash, who is among the best of his generation. All of this while keeping power forward Pau Gasol.

The Magic have signed off on the trade to put Howard’s former team in full-on rebuilding mode in the wake of the franchise center’s long awaited departure. On paper, the Magic’s haul of Al Harrington and Arron Afflalo from Denver,Nikola Vucevic and Moe Harkless from Philadelphia and three first-round picks is underwhelming. But with Harrington expected to be bought out of his partially guaranteed contract next summer, the Magic are positioned to have more than $20 million in cap space in the summer of 2014 as a result of the deal.

While Orlando could’ve received better players had they dealt Howard to Brooklyn, or subsequently to Houston, it is clear that GM Rob Hennigan chose a ground-up rebuild — with draft picks and cap space he will use — over making other teams’ pieces fit his vision for the post-Dwight era.

Under the framework of the deal that four league sources said was agreed to Thursday night, the Sixers would get center Andrew Bynum from the Lakers and Jason Richardson from the Magic and send Andre Iguodala to the Nuggets. In another stroke of blockbuster trade brilliance, the Nuggets managed to acquire the third-best player in a multi-star trade, shed millions in future salary and preserve the $13 million trade exception acquired from the Wizards in the Nene trade.

One league source said Chris Duhon, who would’ve headed to Houston had the Rockets landed Howard, could be bound for the Lakers when this deal takes its final form.

It was the Nuggets’ impressive haul for Carmelo Anthony that set the bar for what the Magic wanted for Howard, and in the end, Denver was opportunistic enough to jump into the mix and better its fortunes even more.

As with most trades of this magnitude, it will take years to tally up the real winners and losers. But the winner in the short term is the Lakers, who have fortified Bryant’s pursuit of a sixth title to tie the great Michael Jordan to a degree that was unimaginable only two months ago.

Gasol, who was part of a blockbuster attempt to acquire Chris Paul from New Orleans that was nixed by commissioner David Stern in December, was shuffled in and out of the Howard trade deck several times, league sources said. Ultimately, the Magic decided to move forward with the trade without getting back an All-Star caliber player.

The matter of long-term contracts for the two key components in the trade, Howard and Bynum, likely will wait. The Lakers have long believed that once Howard’s path to Brooklyn was blocked — as it was last month when the Magic turned down every conceivable trade scenario the Nets presented — and Howard spent a year in Hollywood and immersed in a championship culture, he would welcome a long-term deal with the Lakers next summer. Staying in L.A. is the only way Howard could get a five-year deal worth approximately $100 million.

Bynum, 24, also has a contract that expires after the season. But the Sixers — who go from having a weak front court to having almost inarguably the best center in the East — were willing to take the same kind of chance with Bynum.

So in the span of a little more than month, the Lakers turned the Lamar Odom trade exception and a bunch of possibly hideous draft picks into Steve Nash, and now they have Howard. In the slice of NBA history we currently inhabit, it would go down as the moment that finally ended Howard’s nightmarish and awkward efforts to extricate himself from Orlando if it didn’t make the Lakers so scary at the same time.

The Magic, who get a protected first-round pick from each of the other teams in the deal, would have a manageable buyout number for Harrington next summer; he has $3.6 million guaranteed in 2013-14 and $3.8 million in ’14-’15. The cap hit could be spread out under the new stretch provision adopted in the new collective bargaining agreement.

Orlando was able to dump Richardson’s three years and $18.6 million left, but was not able to unload Hedo Turkogluunder the framework agreed to Thursday night. Even with Afflalo’s four years and $29.7 million remaining, the Magic have only about $20 million in committed salary for the 2014-15 season.

The Lakers’ championship window — with Bryant, anyway — will long since be closed by then. But a lot can happen in three years. Just look at what happened for the Lakers over the past five weeks.

Showtime, indeed.

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Posted on August 10, 2012, in NBA and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Lakers Win Again Landing Dwight Howard From Orlando; Andrew Bynum To Sixers, Andre Iguodala To Denver.

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