The Dwight Howard saga is finally over and he finally got his wish of getting out of Orlando. As after his long, remedy drawn-out departure from the Magic, the Los Angeles Lakers acquired the All-Star center and three-time Defensive Player of the Year in a four team, 12 player trade that includes five draft picks and countless round of talks with different clubs before the deal was finally finalized earlier today.
Almost as if history repeating itself for the second time in the history of the franchise the Magic lose a big-man star nicknamed “Superman” to the Lakers, as well. With Shaq obviously signing to the Lakers as a free agent back in 1996. Although this time at least they got something back in return even if not that much with the acquisition of Josh McRoberts and Christian Eyenga from the Lakers, Arron Affalo and Al Harrington from the Denver Nuggets and a couple players from the Philadelphia 76ers.
Howard was obviously the biggest name in the trade, but there was a couple other key players that found new homes in the trade as well with Andrew Bynum going from the Lakers to the Sixers and Jason Richardson also going from the Magic to Philadelphia. Speaking of the Sixers they also sent former star forward Andre Iguodala, who’s part of the current U.S. Olympic team trying to capture a second straight Gold at the London Games to Denver. With the Lakers also getting Chris Duhon and Earl Clark from the Magic in the blockbuster four-team trade.
One of the best parts about the Lakers pulling off the trade though was being able to somehow miraculously keep starting power forward Pau Gasol, which many thought couldn’t since the Lakers first started getting mentioned in the Howard talks. They I always myself personally thought he would end up staying somehow.
Fittingly the trade was announced during the Spain and Russia semifinal matchup in the Olympics in which Gasol scored 16 points to help the Spanish team reach the gold medal game with a 67-59 victory. And Gasol sounded not only relived, but excited about staying with the Lakers and having the game’s most dominant big man now alongside him.
“That’s big news,” Gasol said. “Huge. I’ve been involved in so many talks and so many rumors. I feel relived. I’m anxious and excited to be back with our team.”
Kobe Bryant even approved of the trade as well, as he took to his Facebook page before the U.S.’s 109-83 blowout of Argentina to advance to the gold medal game with this to say, “Well, it looks like Superman has found a home. I wish nothing but the best for Big Bynum. I hope he follows what was a great season last year with an even better one next year. I know LA is excited about the deal and rightfully so. The Lakers landed a piece that will hopefully carry the franchise long after I’m gone. I have spoken to Dwight Howard already and we are locked and loaded to bring back the title. Wow, what a summer Jimmy and Mitch have had so far. Unreal! I’m focused on our semifinal game vs. Argentina but I had to pause for a few to send you my thoughts, in cause you were curious..”
With numbers like Dwight’s double-double average of 20.6 points per game and 14.5 rebounds per game in 54 games for the Magic last season, who wouldn’t be? And with the move, as well as the Lakers acquisition of Steve Nash they have made it very clear they are making a run to be locked and loaded to aim for Kobe’s sixth title next season and the franchise’s 17th in it’s storied history. Definitely making for a very interesting upcoming season not only in Los Angeles for the Lakers, but in the whole league with all the moves that have been made in the NBA this offseason of so many superstar type players switching teams. And even if you are not a huge fan of a team like the Lakers like myself, if you are a huge fan of basketball and the NBA you definitely got to love and be excited for this upcoming season in general with all the possible storylines for the upcoming season across the league throughout the whole year.
Some info from The Associated Press was used in parts of this article.