|An easier life awaits Pau Gasol with Howard on board. (Getty Images)|
Los Angeles Lakers
Does this need a lot of explanation? Are you confused as to why the team that got the best center in basketball, while only giving up one player won here?
The Lakers gave up value in this deal. Bynum is the second-best center in the league, and honestly, has a better offensive set than Howard. He has better footwork, more versatility, and a sweeter touch around the rim. But Howard is a better player in the pick and roll, and is defensiely worlds better. Bynum's a good defender. Howard is elite.
The Lakers now feature the best four-some in the league with Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Dwight Howard. They didn't take on any extra salary, they moved parts they didn't need or want, they didn't move Gasol. They added a two-time DPOY. Everything's coming up aces for the Lakers.
Sounds familiar, doesn't it.
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Doesn't seem right. He puts the franchise through hell for six months, opts-in, preventing them from selling on him when they still had leverage, got their hopes up, then changes his mind, gets the coach fired and forces the GM to resign, constantly whines about his position, has his agent constantly leak information to pressure the franchise into trading him for a bad deal, and then winds up getting to play with Nash, Bryant, and Gasol in the sunny hills of Hollywood, maintain his free agency out card and enjoy all the endorsement opportunities he could ask for.
Dwight Howard won this trade, and that in and of itself menas that fans lost 240 games last season in the lockout for nothing. He got his way, got the team, the market, the weather. He submarined a franchise, and he walks away clean.
This is the NBA as we know it.
The Sixers needed to swing for the fences once. Swung away they did.
This gives them the kind of big move they need. They have a deep, versatile roster, and they only gave up Iguodala who they had been talking about trading for years. The Sixers needed a go-to offensive option, and Bynum is it. As the No.1 option, he can be absolutely lethal. If he learns to effectively handle a double-team, watch out for the Sixers in the Atlantic.
As 76ers blog Liberty Ballers notes, even if Bynum were to leave as a free agent next summer, the worse case scenario is a true rebuilding move for the Sixers instead of being stuck in neutral forever. It's a bold move, the exact opposite of what we're used to seeing with Philly
Iguodala wasn't redundant in Philly, he's still much better than Evan Turner and Thaddeous Young. But there was a move towards the future, and that meant he needed to go. He now goes to a better team where his skillset fits in very well with what they're doing. A fresh start means he can take his game to a higher level, and while it's possible he could also regress, it's a chance for something better for arguably the best complimentary player in the league.
Just to review, they cleared cap space, got Andrew Iguodala, and only gave up one valuable player, Arron Afflalo in the deal, while getting more future cap space. There is no end to how good of a deal this is for Denver. Once again, it means they get better now while having options in the future. That's what every deal has been about for them, and it continues. They're not a title contender, but they're still a better team, and that's impressive.
Yes, their championship road gets tougher with L.A. possibly looming, but they also got rid of a division foe. With Atlanta's moves and Orlando's rebuilding project, the Heat may not lose a division game.
They just didn't get enough. They were never in a good position thanks to Howard's manipulation, but this deal just deosn't cut it. In truth, the Magic were harmed more by perception anything. When details of a possible trade with the Rockets that would have brought a collection of young players and picks was leaked, that set a bar. When there was talk of a three-way with Cleveland, that set a bar. The bar was good draft picks, not 20-plus picks, and cap relief, more than just Jason Richardson and Chris Duhon off the books. It's not about getting talent back, you're not looking for talent back.
But to have lottery restrictions on the picks, to not get back a young stud (though Arron Afflalo comes close), to not ditch all of your salary in a deal that sends your league-top-three player to the Lakers?
The Magic were always going to lose this deal. But the degree to which they did shows that the Hennigan era is off to a rocky start.
Bynum's fine with this move. And he's going to a playoff team. But he's now expecte to be "the man" for the first time in his career, to excel above and beyond what most would consider hs production level over the past four years, and to do it in a place that is not very nice to professional athletes. He thought the Lakers media attention was intense? There's less of it in Philly, but the reaction is way more intense. He's got to grow up and be a leader for the Sixers, and he's got to carry the load at both ends. Bynum didn't lose badly in this, you might even say he didn't lose at all.
But he definitely didn't win.
He was in such a great position with Denver, too. Never asked to do too much, never expected to carry the load offensively. Now on a lottery team with limited short and long-term prospects of improvement, Afflalo is supposed to be the best player they got back in the trade for Dwight Howard. That's a rough place to be.
Afflalo took a step back at both ends last year after securing his extension, and he needs to cover that and then get better. He's on a lottery team and expected to be more than he is. Not a great situation for his career.
Not only do they not land the franchise center who actaully wanted them, but their offseason doesn't seem so hot anymore. They're spending a ridiculous amount of money on Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, and Brook Lopez vs. Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, and Dwight Howard.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Even if the Thunder are still the favorites in the West (and a lot of reasons to think so), they were going to be the runaway favorites. Now they have a serious challenger who can match them at both ends. They have Perkins to throw at Howard, but will that be enough?
Always the bridesmaid, never the superstar-landing-spot.
The Lakers are thrwarting the Mavericks at every turn. If Howard re-signs next summer, the Mavericks will have watched their nemesis get both Steve Nash and Dwight Howard, two of their targets.