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Lakers get Howard, keep Gasol

The Sports Xchange
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When word spread Aug. 9 that the Lakers had renewed talks with Orlando to acquire center Dwight Howard, there were reports that the price would be Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.

So imagine the Lakers' glee when they were able to keep Gasol and merely trade Bynum, an enigmatic presence during his career, to Philadelphia and send a conditional first-round draft pick to Orlando along with forward Josh McRoberts and guard Christian Eyenga.

In return, the Lakers get the big prize of the four-team deal. Howard is universally considered the best center in the league. The Lakers also got point guard Chris Duhon and forward Earl Clark from Orlando.

Other aspects of the trade:

Denver Nuggets guard Arron Afflalo and forward Al Harrington plus two 76ers -- center Nikola Vucevic and forward Moe Harkless -- go to the Magic.

Philadelphia guard Andre Iguodala goes to Denver.

Magic guard Jason Richardson goes to Philadelphia.

The Magic also gets a conditional first-round draft pick from the Nuggets and 76ers.

Howard averaged 20.6 points and 14.5 rebounds before back surgery ended his season.

--Antawn Jamison was ribbed by Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak even before Kupchak presented Jamison with his new No. 4 Lakers jersey about Jamison playing some defense with his new team.

Jamison has been known as an effective scorer throughout his career. Not too many guys can say they've averaged 20 points per game in the NBA -- Jamison is at 19.5 points per game -- and even last season Jamison still did damage at 17.2 points per game.

Jamison can play small forward or power forward, but he isn't particularly adept at staying in front of small forwards or holding off power forwards. The Lakers do have other options -- namely, Devin Ebanks at small forward or Jordan Hill at power forward -- off the bench if they need defense more than offense.

But Jamison, who signed with the Lakers for the veterans' minimum salary in hopes of winning an NBA championship, is confident he can do a lot of damage on offense in purple and gold.

"In the past I'm probably the first or second option a coach is scheming against," Jamison said. "In this situation (with the Lakers), I might be the last guy (other coaches) are even thinking about. I'm definitely eager for those scenarios to happen."

Jamison is looking forward to being set up by new Lakers point guard Steve Nash and having defenses focused on shooting guard Kobe Bryant. Nash helped Jamison become NBA Sixth Man of the Year with Dallas in their one season together -- and Jamison's one season coming off the bench, as he will for the Lakers.

As far as defense goes, Jamison said: "I definitely have improved and am not as much of a negative on the defensive end as early on in my career. I understand the importance of not being a weak link."

Copyright (C) 2012 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

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