Well folks, it seems as though the wait is finally over. The source of scrutiny and pain throughout the past 6 months has finally been relieved. Dwight Howard is a Laker. It began this morning with Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports! reporting that a deal involving 4 teams was being discussed in order to bring the 3 time DPOY to the Lakers.
The four teams were Philadelphia, Denver, Orlando and Los Angeles and the deal would have seen various player flung to the aforementioned teams. Dwight Howard and Al Harrington to LA, Andre Iguodala to Denver, Aaron Afflalo and Pau Gasol to Orlando and Andrew Bynum to Philadelphia. This was the trade that dominated basketball headlines around the globe this morning but while it was said to be in the works, nothing was imminent. Many questioned the Lakers willingness to discard Gasol to the Magic given the acquisition of Steve Nash his ability to help the forward into open space. But, at approximately midday Friday (Aus), leaks from various ESPN analysts began to emerge that not only had the deal been ‘done’, it also didn’t include Pau Gasol.
What has ensued, is just that. A done deal. Dwight Howard has been traded to the Los Angeles Lakers for Andrew Bynum and from all reports, the deal does not include Pau Gasol. It now seems that all the pieces stay the same, however Al Harrington, along with Aaron Afflalo will be moved to Orlando instead of Los Angeles as once assumed, whilst Gasol would stay put. Indeed, Andre Iguodala is now a Nugget, and Andrew Bynum is a Sixer. Philadelphia will also absorb the bloated contract of Magic swingman Jason Richardson whilst the Magic also receive Nikola Vucevic and Moe Harkless in the deal. There will be other elements to this such as draft picks, trade exceptions, cash considerations and possibly other players, but for now, these are the centerpieces that will ensure Dwight’s Lakers birth.
However, Howard will not sign an extension and the Lakers have limited time to make that happen. Many believe that Lakers management have the foresight to be able to say they are confident Dwight will enjoy his time in LA that much that there is every chance he will sign on. Additionally, the basketball World continues to wonder how owners and officials will react to this, following the doomed Chris Paul deal in 2011 but as we all know, David Stern doesn’t own the Magic like he does the Hornets. It’s almost impossible for a veto to come out of this before tomorrow morning when the deal is officiated. Also to be remembered is Dwight’s troublesome back problems which may keep him sidelined for the start of the Lakers 2012/13 campaign. Still, hardly something Lakers fans are thinking about.
So there you have it. Dwight Howard is a Laker. The phone call to the NBA is scheduled for tomorrow morning to finalize one of the biggest moves by the Lakers since the acquisition of the great Shaquille O’Neal.
How do you feel about the trade? Ripped off? Stoked? Let us know in the comments below, or tweet us directly @NBANationOz