A few quick thoughts on the potential Dwight Howard blockbuster trade, especially in terms of trade impact on the Raptors.
And I'm not just talking about big in terms of number of participants, although with four teams involved and seemingly 38 players changing teams, that could be true too. No, I'm talking about one of the league's top five players leaving the East and joining a club in Los Angeles that already had a pretty strong starting group, and two other All-Stars changing teams as well.
In summary, it sounds like the Orlando Magic are trading Dwight Howard at last, to the Los Angeles Lakers no less, in a four-team deal that would see Howard along with Chris Duhon and Earl Clark going to LA, Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson going to the Philadelphia 76ers, Andre Iguodala going to the Denver Nuggets and Nikola Vujevic and Moe Harkless heading to Orlando, and Arron Afflalo and Al Harrington going from Denver to Orlando.
This was the initial framework reported by Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski and in it, the Magic would also receive multiple first-round picks, although nothing is official until a trade call is put into the league, something that's apparently going to happen this morning.
On paper the big winner here is the Lakers obviously, who somehow essentially flipped Bynum and Lamar Odom for Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, and didn't have to give up Pau Gasol in either transaction.
Oh...and they still have a few guys by the name of Kobe and Metta World Peace kicking around.
Sure, there's no bench to speak of in LA, Nash and Howard aren't exactly pictures of perfect health, and the Lake Show are going to owe about a billion, zillion dollars in contractual obligations but hey, it's LA right?
The next big winner to me is Philly, who gets a legit top center who could wreak havoc in the East, and by moving Iguodala, can start playing players like Evan Turner at their natural position.
Close after Philly is Denver, who yes, helps LA become a potential juggernaut, but upgrades their swingman position with the acquisition of Iggy for a lower long-term cost, and now has a VERY nice team on paper, one that should play at a blistering pace next season and be one of the more fun teams to watch.
As for the Magic...well...ah...
Frankly I don't get this deal and immediately after the news broke, GM Rob Hennigan came under a lot of fire. However it now sounds like this move wasn't his call and instead, was that of Orlando President Alex Martins!
Without going too deep here, I wanted to get some quick thoughts from all on how this potential trade would impact the Raptors.
I think right now, you'd have to say it's a win for Toronto as Orlando goes from a playoff contender with Dwight, to potentially the worst team talent-wise in the league, thus removing another "playoff hurdle" for the Dinos. Philly on paper improves with Bynum and even J-Rich, but it's hard to say by how much considering some of the other off-season changes the team has made.
But regardless, they're a happy bunch.
Bottom line for me in this deal is that the landscape in the East doesn't change that much overall. The big shake-up is that Orlando, a perennial playoff lock with Howard drops, while Philly likely moves up.
But the end result is still the same; the Raptors are going to have to fight and claw all season to get into the Dance.