A seismic shift has taken place in the NBA with Dwight Howard now officially leaving the East Coast for the green pastures of the West Coast that is the Los Angeles Lakers. The 10 player, four team trade will see the Lakers receive Dwight Howard, the Denver Nuggets receive Andre Igudala, the 76ers acquire Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson, and the Magic receive Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Nikola Vucevic and three first round draft picks, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein. Also included in the trade will be Earl Clark, Chris Duhon, and Moe Harkless.
While the Dwight Howard trade appeared eminent for some time, it came at a time when other teams had offered the Magic better offers (Brook Lopez anyone?). The threefold question then becomes, why did the Magic complete this trade and what does this mean for them and the NBA?
To answer the first question? The Magic were desperate. Knowing that Howard would not be re-signing following the 2012-2013 season, it was getting close to being now or never for the team and when communication opened between the four teams, the Magic finally had a chance to ship out the team cancer that Howard had become for some young talent with Afflalo and a solid shooter in Harrington.
What does this mean for the Magic and its fan base? Sorry to have to say it but it’s time to let the rebuilding begin. By trading away the 5-time All-Star, the Magic have put a lot of faith in young center Daniel Orton and a team now built to shoot the three. Let’s be honest though, with this trade, the Magic have taken a huge step backward and will most likely be out of the playoffs for the next few years.
The last question is easy to answer. What does this mean for the NBA? It means the Lakers are now the favorite to win the West and probably now become the last line of defense against the Miami Heat winning another championship.
The Thunder don’t have enough big men who can stand up to Howard and Gasol and Kobe showed during last season and in this year’s Olympics that he indeed does still have some good ball in him and with the addition of a veteran, shooting point guard in Steve Nash to spread the floor, you now have a formidable, top team in the West. Throw in a defensive stopper in Ron Artest? I’m not sure any team in the West can top that starting five.
The sad truth about this trade is that with its completion, the Philadelphia 76er’s, the Denver Nuggets, and the Los Angeles Lakers all became better teams. The Magic? They have gotten worse. Although there are still draft picks that will have to pan out, this trade was good for everyone involved except for the Magic.