It took four teams, 11 other players, five draft picks and countless rounds of talks over many months, but the Lakers have finally got their big man: Dwight Howard was officially introduced as member of the LA Lakers. This certainly marks an end to what had been a very long and spiny relationship between the Orlando Magic and the best center in the NBA. The Orlando Magic have been working really hard on making big changes and a they will now face this season without their All-Star center and their previous head coach. It might take a while before the Magic becomes a serious threat to the dominance that the Miami Heat, the Boston Celtics or the New York Knicks have had in the East Coast, but on the long haul this might be a good move for everyone. Particularly for the LA Lakers, who have certainly uplifted their rooster for this upcoming season.
As of press time, it is still uncertain what the details of Howard contract with the Lakers look like. For a very long time one of the main reasons why the Lakers and other teams who wanted to bring Howard with them was the players reluctance to sign a long-term contract. Over and over again Howard had insisted that he would only stay around for good if he ended up with the Brooklyn Nets. But it was evident that the Nets door closed a little too early and it was now a matter of time before the Lakers and the Magic figure out a way to make the transfer work. Now, let’s go ahead and give it a try.
This is sort of the blueprint of how this 11-player transaction played out. For starters, the Lakers youngster Andrew Bynum was sent by the Lakers to the Philadelphia 76ers. The 76ers sent Andre Iguodala to the Denver Nuggets. Orlando got guard Arron Afflalo and forward Al Harrington from Denver and forward Moe Harkless and center Nikola Vucevic from Philadelphia and forward Josh McRoberts and guard Christian Eyenga from the Lakers. Now, evidently the Lakers got Dwight Howard, but in order to get things rolling they will also get guard Chris Duhon and forward Earl Clark from Orlando. Finally the Orlando Magic traded guard Jason Richardson to Philadelphia.
Now, that’s it in terms of players, but the transactions also included several other perks for the Orlando Magic. They will get a second-round draft pick from Denver next year, a first-round pick from either Denver or New York in 2014, a conditional first-round pick from Philadelphia and a conditional second-round pick from the Lakers in 2015, and a conditional first-round pick from the Lakers in 2017. Orlando also will have a $17.8 million trade exception to use over the next year. That should be enough to clear them plenty of space in the salary cap.
The big question is still whether Howards will sign a long term contract with the Lakers. “Right now, it’s about today and I’m here with the Lakers and that’s the only thing that matters,” Howard said in the press conference. “Whatever happens a year from now we’ll wait until that time. Right now, it’s all about the Lakers and me starting fresh. I’m happy to be here and that’s the only thing that matters now.”