Friday, August 10, 2012

Immediate reaction to the Dwight Howard to the Lakers deal

by John Huffstetler

LA Lakers acquire Dwight Howard

Denver Nuggets acquire Andre Iguodala

Philadelphia 76ers acquire Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson

Orlando Magic acquire Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Moe Harkless, Nikola Vucevic, and 3 PROTECTED (key word) 1st round picks (One from each team)

Reaction: 3 winners and 1 one big loser in this trade.

LA Lakers: Big Winner. When you have the opportunity to acquire a player the caliber of Dwight Howard, you get the trade done. Credit the Lakers for having the persistence to make this beneficial trade work. Earlier this past season when speculation grew that Howard might be traded, I speculated about where Howard might land, arguing that the Lakers and Bulls had the best chance to get him. The Lakers seemed likely then because they had the best trade-able asset among all the potential teams at the time in Andrew Bynum. As it turns out, Bynum was a huge part of this trade (even though the Magic somehow found it unnecessary themselves to acquire him). The Lakers saw how much better Howard makes them than Bynum and they only had to give up Bynum in order to acquire him. They are now the CLEAR team to beat in the NBA because they added the best Center and Point Guard in the league this offseason to an already solid playoff team. Brilliant move. Grade: A+

Philadelphia 76ers: Another winner. The Sixers squeaked into the playoffs last year after a terrible second half of the season only to benefit from injuries to Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah and steal a first round win over a far superior Bulls team. Their offseason had been quiet and puzzling so far. They let Louis Williams walk but sign Nick Young and Kwame Brown? There was a definite hole in the middle as well after they amnestied Elton Brand, but this move immediately upgrades their lineup. Iguodala was a strong player for the Sixers (and will continue to be for the Nuggets), but the Sixers have players to give minutes in the backcourt that can defend and rebound near Iguodala's level. They did not, however, have a decent second option in the post opposite Spencer Hawes. They lost some production at SF, but gain huge production in the post, as they now have two legitimate seven-footers to start night in and night out. Jason Richardson is not worth mentioning because he is an overpaid, inefficient player. He alone drops this grade down from an A. Grade: B+

Denver Nuggets: Another winner. This was a savvy move by the Nuggets and GM Kiki Vandeweghe. It was inarguable last year that the Nuggets had the deepest team in the NBA; however, that depth hurt them late in the season after Wilson Chandler returned from China because there simply weren't enough minutes for everyone. A team with depth like the Nuggets needs to use that depth to upgrade the caliber of players in the starting lineup. Afflalo is a fine player, but Iguodala is an obvious upgrade. He will start at the SG spot and Gallinari will continue to play the SF position. The only other player that the Nuggets had to give up is the black hole, Al Harrington. He is overpaid, shoots poor shots, and rebounds terribly for a Power Forward. Plus, the Nuggets are anxious to give more minutes in the post to Kenneth Faried, JaVale McGee, and Timofey Mozgov. His departure is a great example of addition by subtraction. Back to Iguodala, he fits well with this squad Nuggets in several important ways: 1) He runs the floor well and likes to play in transition, which matches perfectly with the Nuggets up and down style, 2) He offers them versatility in being able to start at the 2 or the play the 3 when Gallinari sits or is injured (which seems to be happening frequently), and 3) He is an elite defender who can cover the litany of Western Conference two guards that can light up the scoreboard. Denver is not a top 3 team out West, but they're not far off after this trade. Grade: A

Orlando Magic: Disgraceful. You have to protect your assets as a professional sports franchise. If you're lucky enough to get a player of Dwight Howard's ability, do whatever it takes to keep him. If you can't keep him, get as close to EQUAL VALUE in return as possible. The Magic gave up a top 5 player and in return get Afflalo (granted, he is a decent player), 3 protected draft picks (as in not lottery picks), 2 nobodies, and one of the worst well-known players in the league in Al Harrington. THAT'S NOT EVEN CLOSE TO EQUAL VALUE. They could have just traded for Andrew Bynum. The Lakers were obviously willing to let him go. They didn't want him (but they wanted Al Harrington?). They could have just waited. They had the best player in the trade. Why not just wait and try to build a bigger market for Howard? Why rush if you're going to get NOTHING in return? They have just made themselves irrelevant for at least the next 5 years, and they didn't have to. Just look at the Nuggets who I just praised for their part in the deal. They had to trade Carmelo Anthony in 2011, and it was clear that Melo wanted out of Denver. In return, they received Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Timofey Mozgov, Raymond Felton and a few draft picks; as a result, they didn't miss a beat. Their team was probably even stronger after the trade. Newsflash, Carmelo isn't even good! Howard is ten times the player that Melo is. To get so little in return for such a dynamic player is a complete and utter disgrace, and a slap in the face to every Magic fan. Grade: F-------------------

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