Today, “Showtime” finally returns to Los Angeles as Dwight Howard is finally set to join the Lakers next season. Initially Pau Gasol’s name had been reported in the preliminary trade discussions, but the Lakers managed to retain the 4-time all-star from Spain making their front-court tandem more solidified than ever.
With Dwight coming to the Lakers, he joins an already star-studded starting lineup that features Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Metta World Peace and newly acquired free-agent Steve Nash. Nash who was acquired from the Phoenix Suns last month in a sign-and-trade will now have an infinite amount of options with Kobe, Gasol and Dwight on the court together. Now the only questions that remain for the Lakers 2012 title run, will be depth on their bench and the elephant in the room….Mike Brown.
Here’s the breakdown for the 4-Team blockbuster trade:
- Lakers get Dwight Howard, Earl Clark and Chris Duhon
- 76ers get Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson
- Nuggets get Andre Iguodala
- Magic get Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Nikola Vucevic, Nuggets 2014 Pick, 76ers 2015 Pick and Lakers 2017 Pick
It’s been almost two years since the Dwight Howard saga has started that lingered through all of last years NBA season. Questions whether the 3-time defensive player of the year would re-sign with Orlando or leave with free-agency in the off-season for Brooklyn lasted through the entire season. Dwight eliminated his choice of freedom for the 2012 free agency after deciding to Opt-In with the Orlando Magic last March before the trade-deadline because he wanted to be the “good guy”.
Upon opting-in, Dwight was promised his destination freedom in the off-season if the team couldn’t trigger a possible trade to pair him with another superstar(s), which we all knew wasn’t going to happen. But after internal reports within the organization leaked saying Dwight Howard privately asking for the firing of head coach Stan Van Gundy and Gm Otis Smith, this really worsened the situation and turned the Orlando Magic into a circus which led to a PR nightmare.
At the conclusion of the season, Orlando fired both their GM and head coach with hopes that Dwight might give them another chance, but this time (for once) he had already made his decision. Rob Hennigan who was hired 2 months ago to take over the vacant general manager position, made one last ditch effort to persuade Dwight to stay in Orlando, but failed. The Magic even had better trade offers from both the Houston Rockets and the Brooklyn Nets but never came grips with trading their superstar big.
Prior to this move, Kobe Bryant was on record to saying he’s contemplating retirement after the 2014 season, but now with the acquisitions of Nash and Howard in this Hollywood-like setting; Kobe retiring after that point on would seem highly unlikely. With Shaquille O’Neal’s jersey being raised to rafters in the upcoming season, Dwight, dubbed Superman 2.0 will have his chance to join to also join the likes Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar by winning a title in Lakers big man tradition. Howard, who hasn’t agreed to re-sign with Los Angeles before the trade, is still expected to test free agency in 2013. The Lakers, who own Howard’s bird-rights will make his ‘decision’ easier as he will have financial incentive to stay with the team next summer being around talent for the first time in his nine-year career.--