Cue the orchestra entrance music, Alex Morgan and Justin Timberlake walk up side by side. They read their witty banter off the teleprompter and Timberlake says, “And the winner for GM of the Year is….” and then in unison they shout “Rob Hennigan”.
BOOM, BOOM, BOOM – The Magic’s Executive Assistant is at Rob Hennigan’s office door.
Hennigan immediately jumps up and realizes it was all a dream. In fact he realizes that he may have just made the worst trade in NBA history. His phone has multiple text messages and voice-mails from NBA Insiders asking ‘What the hell are you thinking?’. He jumps online to see 13,000 mentions in his Twitter Account all starting with ”WTF You Jackass…” Reality has set in and while the Dwightmare is over his Nightmare has just begun.
Late Thursday night and then Friday the 4 team trade that was reported went final. It’s amazing to me that the team with the biggest asset in the deal ended up being the only loser, while the other three teams all made out like bandits.
Lakers Get: Dwight Howard (ORL), Chris Duhon (ORL), Earl Clark (ORL)
Magic Get: Aaron Afflalo (DEN), Al Harrington (DEN), Josh McRoberts (LA), Christian Eyenga (LA), Moe Harkless (PHI), Nikola Vucevic (PHI) + 5 Various Draft Picks
76ers Get: Andrew Bynum (LA), Jason Richardson (ORL)
Nuggets Get:Andre Iguodala (PHI)
If you were to just grade this trade in terms of shear volume I guess the Magic won, but we all know it’s not about how much you get but what specifically you get in comparison to what you gave up. The Magic can talk all day long about how they got 6 players and 3 draft picks for 1 player and I’ll say to that so fucking what. I’m not going to trade a Rolex watch for a bunch of jewelry from Walmart.
Counter-point number 2, Orlando can say well we got rid of the bad contracts of Jason Richardson (3 yr, $18M) and Chris Duhon (2 yr, $7.2M). I guess you have a point but in my opinion you took back just as bad contracts in Afflalo (4 yr, $30M) and Harrington (3 yr, $21.4M). So essentially Orlando is gambling that Afflalo will turn into a quasi all-star caliber player and that they’ll be content with veteran journeyman Al Harrington for the next three seasons. It all sounds pretty dumb in my opinion. I wouldn’t have made this trade in fantasy basketball.
However what are you to expect when you hire a 30 year old General Manager with no experience. Okay, he was a Division 3 Basketball player (so was I), obviously he was better than me since he was an All American and Conference Player of the Year for three years. He worked with the Spurs and Thunder for a bunch of years but none as a general manager. It’s astonishing to me that they would bring a rookie GM into the Dwight Howard saga and think something positive would turn out. The only thing positive is that I coined the phrase “The Orlando Tragic”
Enough about them let’s talk about the winners in this deal:
Lakers - Obviously they are going for the WIN NOW mentality. They know Kobe is getting older, Steve Nash is aging, if Pau Gasol gets any softer he will become two-ply toilet paper, and Antawn Jamison/Metta World Peace seem like they have been in the league since the World B. Free days. With Howard the Lakers get the much needed rebounding and interior defense they’ve been longing for. They’ll need Howard to average 8 ppg, 15 rpg and 3 blocks.
But how do they stack up against the other top teams in the West? Specifically in the playoffs more so than the regular season. The moves from the Lakers haven’t helped them one iota against the Oklahoma City Thunder. They still have no one that can guard Russell Westbook and no one that can guard Kevin Durant. The Thunder will have a tough task with Howard but Ibaka and Perkins are more than capable tough nose defenders. More importantly if Ibaka continues to knock down the perimeter jump shot Howard will have a tough time guarding him. I would say ditto when comparing against the Miami Heat. It will all depend on what type offense they decide to go with.
Everyone is saying that Howard will not sign an extension until the year is over because financially he can make more money doing so. There is no doubt in my mind he stays with the Lakers. It would take a catastrophic event for him to leave L.A. and by doing so it means Dallas would be his #1 suitor.
76ers - At what point did Philly fans think they would land Andrew Bynum? They gave up their star, their glue guy in Andre Iguodala but based on how that team was built he just wasn’t the right piece to get them over the hump. Bynum gives them a legitimate center and balance to a team that has a good amount of youth. I’m not sure how Jason Richardson fits into the mix with Evan Turner, Nick Young and Thaddeus Young but I’m sure they will find him time if he remains healthy.
I like what Philly did, it was a necessary evil getting rid of Igu and getting an extremely talented big man who has the potential to pout, whine and be immature. What concerns me is that the successful teams of late are all smaller, more athletic and not-Center driven. So this is bad news for the 76ers. Also the Atlantic Division is extremely competitive with NY, Brooklyn and Boston it should be a fight for the division crown.
Bynum is in a similar situation with Howard, his contract expires at the end of this year. He most likely will not re-sign mid season as he can get more years and more dollars by doing so after the season. Bynum is from South Jersey, so there is a chance he would want to stay in Philly. I guess it depends on how things go next year. I’m sure with Bynum’s youth he’ll have the pick of multiple teams waiting to give him a max deal.
Nuggets - It’s an interesting trade from a Denver standpoint. The Nuggets definitely improved their team by adding Andre Iguodala and getting rid of two bad contracts. Afflalo is a nice player but he hasn’t proven to be star 2 guard and I’m not sure if he will ever be one. By getting rid of Harrington the Nuggets freed up a large block of minutes for Kenneth Faried who plays the way his nickname is “Manimal”. Denver has the potential to have an extremely athletic lineup if they were to start Lawson, Iguodala, Gallinari/Chandler, Faried and McGee. However by making their team better they also made a competitor in the Western Conference Exponentially better which is a catch 22.