Saturday , Aug , 11 , 2012 Matt Formica

Dwight Howard Trade Shows Players Rule NBA, Magic Long Road Ahead

Dwight Howard Trade Shows Players Rule NBA, Magic Long Road Ahead

Hoopsvibe’s Quick Call:  The Magic have their work cut out for them.

Howard, not surprisingly, has been traded to the Lakers in what is yet again another blockbuster NBA move involving multiple teams, players, and future draft picks.  (Four teams, 12 players, and five draft picks to be exact). 

And while the NBA world can breathe a sigh of relief that this nightmare is finally over, this whole trade debacle proves one thing:  The NBA is not ruled by coaches, executives or it’s management.  It’s ruled by the players.

So who won and who lost in this deal?

The Los Angeles Lakers – Won

There’s no question the Lakers made out like bandits.  They get one of the best centers to ever play the game in Dwight Howard.  For the past eight seasons, Howard has averaged 18.4 points and 13 rebounds per game.

Additionally, they bring in guard Chris Duhon and forward Earl Clark (both solid role players) from the Magic.  But even more of a win in this deal for LA, is the fact that they get rid of the cancer that was Andrew Bynum last year.  Yes, he’s an amazing player and has potential to be the best center in the league.  But he isn’t; and time and time again, Bynum has shown that his poor attitude trumps his performance. 

People will say that Dwight Howard has shown all of those same weaknesses with the way he’s handled the situation in Orlando, and while that may be true, I guarantee we see a much more motivated, refreshed, hard-working Dwight Howard in LA.  This, in turn, will make Mike Brown a better coach and boost team morale exponentially. 

And let’s not forget that the Lakers will also have Steve Nash, a veteran and accomplished professional, running the show at point guard, a position where they desperately needed to fill a void.

And with the $1.8 billion TV deal that kicks off this year, why not spend some more money? 

Oh yeah, they get to keep Pau Gasol.  (WTF?)  Watch out for the Lakeshow this coming season.

The Philadelphia 76ers – Won

The 76ers biggest loss in this trade was Andre Iguodala, an All-Star and great defensive player.  (He’s also currently a member of USA’s Olympic team).  Additionally, they lose forward Moe Harkless and center Nikola Vucevic but who cares?  They got Andrew Bynum, a player who based on sheer talent and ability alone, a team can be built around.  And the hope that comes with that opportunity will be a very powerful thing in the city of brotherly love.  It’s certainly possible that Bynum, who having grown up in New Jersey about an hour from Philly, might feel more comfortable, more loved, and passionate to play near home.  After all, it seems that coddling is what he needs.

The 76ers should definitely be a major contender in the East this year.

The Denver Nuggets – Won

While they had to get rid of two very talented players in Arron Afflalo and Al Harrington, they are excited to add Andre Iguodala to the lineup.  Like I mentioned before, Iguodala brings a ton of talent; he’s one of the most all-around players in the NBA.  “It’s not often you get the opportunity to improve your team by adding an All-Star player like Andre Iguodala,” Nuggets EVP of bball operations, Masai Ujiri said. 

Fact.  The Western Conference is stacked, but Denver should compete in the upcoming season.

The Orlando Magic – Lost.  Big Time.

First off, the Magic didn’t even land Bynum!  You almost have to sit back and wonder, what were the Magic thinking?  Yes, they got Aaron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Moe Harkless, Nikola Vucevic, Josh McRoberts, Christian Eyenga and five future draft picks.  But other than Afllalo and Harrington, I’m not impressed with that talent pool.  Not to mention, before the end of last season, they fired their head coach (Stan Van Gundy) and GM (Otis Smith) because of a Dwight Howard, only to trade Howard away!  Now they’ve lost all three.  Nothing against their new head coach Jacque Vaughn or their new GM Rob Hennigan but the facts of the matter are, Vaughn doesn’t have a lot of head coaching experience and Hennigan is just 30 years old.  If Orlando’s goal was to trade Dwight Howard for a bunch of random pieces that would help them prepare for future success, they probably should’ve kept the experienced head coach and general manager that got them to the NBA Finals three years ago.  Just saying.

I understand that for the past year, Dwight Howard has been nothing but a headache for Orlando.  I get it.  But if that’s the case, why allow him to waive his opt out a few months ago and re-sign??  The rumor was that players on the team plane were pressuring Howard into signing the deal (again, players rule the league nowadays) but if management was preparing to rebuild and get rid of him anyway, you think they’d make sure that didn’t happen.  And while they are now sitting with salary cap space, draft picks, and a slew of random young players, they have unproven experience in managing those pieces properly. 

Remember, the Magic got better offers for Howard from Brooklyn and Houston!

While I really don’t think the Magic will be championship contenders anytime soon, I will say this:  what an amazing opportunity they have.  As hard as the road ahead may be, I’d trade places with Rob Hennigan in a second.  It would be great for fans, great for the organization, and great for the sport to see them triumph.

So best of luck to the Magic.  They’ll probably need it.

So why didn’t commissioner David Stern step in to stop this trade?  We all remember when Stern vetoed Chris Paul being traded to the Lakers last season because he didn’t want the imbalance that came along with the league’s best talent going to the league’s biggest market franchises.  So why let Dwight Howard go to the Lakers?  It completely contradicts that argument and immediately makes LA a championship contender.

Maybe Stern didn’t want to jeopardize his credibility and reputation by once again exercising his executive authority.

Or maybe its just simply because, in the NBA, players run the show.

Just ask Orlando.

 

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Image source:  WENN Images