The 26-year old superstar center is headed to the Los Angeles Lakers in a four-team deal that is set to shake up the structure of the NBA's elite class. Howard is far from the only moving part. The Denver Nuggets will acquire small forward Andre Iguodala from the Philadelphia 76ers, the 76ers get Andrew Bynum from the Lakers and Jason Richardson from the Magic, Orando gets Arron Afflalo from the Nuggets and a protected first round draft pick from each team in the trade.
Given the magnitude of Howard and all of the pieces involved, it strikes me as a remarkably sensible deal. Philadelphia fans are happy, Nuggets fans should be, too. The Magic don't come away with a huge haul for their superstar, but they scored some draft picks and a solid young two-guard. Perhaps the best part of the deal for Orlando fans is this: now the Magic can just go back to being a normal team concerned with winning basketball games. The hostage situation is over.â†µ
Assuming Howard's balky back returns to normal, the Lakers are the clear winner. This looks like a fantastic antidote to the Heat, who certainly will not be able to match up in the front-court with Howard and Pau Gasol. I think it's foolish to write off the Oklahoma City Thunder prematurely, but the offseason additions of Howard and future Hall of Fame point guard Steve Nash certainly makes L.A. increasingly formidable.â†µ
As for our Chicago Bulls? The hits keep on coming this offseason. It looks like they blew it once again. Take a peak at what Orlando got back: do you really think the Magic wouldn't have gone for a package based around Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson? Sure, there are plenty of other pieces that would have to have been put in place, but it's Chicago's resounding commitment to the safest, cheapest path that should really be bothersome. The Bulls didn't even try.â†µ
We'll have more on the Howard trade from the Bulls perspective on Friday afternoon.