By: Trisity Miller
It feels as if the NBA has awakened from a yearlong “Dwightmare”. Orlando finally pulled the plug sending the best big man in the league to the Los Angeles Lakers. The interesting part of the deal is the other two teams who stepped up to get this deal done: Denver and Philadelphia. The trade consisted of a few great moves, some good moves and a questionable deal.
Los Angeles: Whoever said the rich get richer and the poor get poorer must’ve been a Lakers fan (or a Republican). Once again, the Lakers have jumped from a 2nd round team to a legit championship contender a la in 2008 after the addition of Gasol. Speaking of Gasol, they managed get Dwight in a 4-team withOUT giving up Pau. I don’t know how Buss continues to do it, but he does it. The Lakers have gone from Mikan to Wilt to Kareem to Shaq to Bynum and now have Dwight Howard. After getting bounced in the second round in the past two years, LA is now the best team in the league. With Meeks, Hill, Duhon/Blake, and Jamison coming off the pine, this team can be very scary. This may be the year we finally get Kobe v. Lebron, because with this team around the Mamba, anything less than a championship is a bust.
Denver: This one is easy. Without giving up much (Afflalo/Harrington), you’ve upgraded your shooting guard position massively. In comes Andre Iguodala, one of the most underrated stars in the NBA, to replace Arron Afflalo. He isn’t “build your team around him” good, but with the way the Denver Nuggets have been constructed for the past two years, he is the perfect player to come in and add to an already good team. Their starting lineup will likely be Lawson-Iggy-Gallo-Faried-McGee. The only minus you can get out of this is that Iggy is owed $30 million over the next 2 years. This doesn’t make Denver a contender, but they can easily be seen as the fourth or fifth best team in the Western Conference outside of the 3 powerhouses and gives them a legit chance of upsetting a higher seed this year in the playoffs.
Orlando: This trade reminds me of someone who’s been hassling you for so long for something that after a while, you just give into to whatever demands they offer you. The Orlando virtually traded Dwight Howard for…a core of Aaron Afflalo, Nikola Vucevic and rookie Moe Harkless. Suddenly that Brooklyn offer of Brook Lopez and Marshon Brooks looks of some quality. That Toronto pick they could’ve gotten from Orlando looks better than this also. For a team that clamored that they wanted to take their time on figuring out which trade to pursue, they’ve come out as the weakest of the four teams. Of the four all-stars traded in the deal, Orlando came away with none of them. I’ll give Hennigan and co. slack because when Gasol was traded it looked similar to this though it turned out pretty good for Memphis, but until then Orlando dropped the ball on this one.
Philadelphia: This team has been “trying” to trade Iguodala for the last 3 years, but never pulled the trigger because of what they were going to get in return. Now, they’ve the center in the NBA with the highest upside for the next 6-7 years in Andrew Bynum. Bynum will join a young core of Evan Turner (23), Jrue Holiday (22) and Thaddeus Young (24). Adding Bynum guarantees the playoffs as long as he’s there, but that may be the only problem in this situation seeing that he will be an unrestricted at the end of the 2013 season. This trade will also allow Philly to be active at the trade deadline due to the logjam at the center position (Allen, Brown, Hawes). Doug Collins will have a handful of work keeping motivate Bynum to play at his best every night for Philly, but the future for this team can be bright if handled properly.