The “Dwightmare” is finally over in Orlando as the Magic traded unloaded Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers with the Denver Nuggets and Philadelphia 76ers playing supporting roles in the trade. Here’s my breakdown of the grades for each team in the trade.
Los Angeles Lakers: A+
There’s not much to say about the Lakers except that they got the best player in the trade. They also acquired Earl Clark and Chris Duhon. Duhon will be the third point guard but Clark should get on the floor in backup minutes. The Dwight trade not only brings the best center in the game to Los Angeles, but instantly improves other members of the team.
Steve Nash and newly acquired Antawan Jamison are below average defensively while Kobe Bryant continues to age. At this point though, it doesn’t even matter. With both Pau Gasol and Dwight behind them, opposing point guards can beat Nash but still can not get in the pain because of the big men.
On the offensive side of things, Dwight opens up a bevy of options for the Lakers. The pick and rolls between Nash with Gasol and Dwight are going to be tough to stop, and Kobe will get second chances after misses because of the offensive rebounds Howard will snag. Overall, giving up Andrew Bynum, the second best center, to get the best center can only be regarded as A+ work by the Lakers front office.
Orlando Magic: F
After months of shopping Dwight around this is the best offer the Magic could get? They received Aaron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Nikola Vucevic, Moe Harkless plus a first round pick from each of the teams involved in this trade.
They also failed to move the contracts of Glen Davis or Hedo Turkelou. What surprises me most is that they didn’t get the first, second or third best players moved in this deal. Now the offers from Brooklyn and Houston look much better when held against this bevy of pieces the Magic got.
Afflalo is an above average player and Harrington can get hot from deep, but Vucevic couldn’t get on the floor in the playoffs last year and Harkless is an unproven draft pick. Afflalo is a complementary player, not the type that can carry a team by himself.
The Magic definitely got worse in this trade, but they didn’t get so bad that they will be in contention for the first pick in the draft. The Eastern Conference has great teams and terrible teams, so the Magic have put themselves on the bottom end of the East, but not far down enough to rebuild. In addition, the draft picks will be in the low first round range, as the 76ers, Nuggets and Lakers should all make the playoffs next season.
Denver Nuggets: B+
The Nuggets did a very simple thing. They upgraded a position while saving money. Afflalo is a good defensive player. Andre Iguodala is probably the best perimeter defensive player in the NBA. One of the most athletic teams in the league got even more athletic with the addition of Iguodala.
While they still have questions about who takes the last shot. I like the addition of Iguodala to the Nuggets. Iguodala goes right along with Kenneth Farried, Andre Miller, JaVale McGee and Danilo Gallinari in giving the Nuggets one of the best transition teams in the NBA.
Philadelphia 76ers: A-
The 76ers took a risk, brining in Andrew Bynum to be the centerpiece of the team. Bynum has always wanted to be the “man” on a team, and with Kobe Bryant that was never going to happen. He is now the best center in his conference and should get the touches he wants and deserves in the post.
A great trade for the 76ersm, because Iguodala had worn out his welcome in Philadelphia. Both parties knew it was time for a fresh start, so Iguodala gets a new, exciting team in the Nuggets and Phily gets their superstar.
Whether Bynum will both resign in Philadelphia next year and if he can become the anchor on a playoff team remain to be seen. At this point though, the 76ers took a risk on a player who could yield huge dividends for them and look to have a better team that last year heading into the 2012-13 season.