The dynamic of basketball powerhouses once again has to be altered thanks to a blockbuster deal. According to numerous sources, including ESPN.com, Dwight Howard has been dealt to the Los Angeles Lakers in a multi-team deal that was completed Thursday night. A source with knowledge of the talks told ESPN.com’s Marc Stein the Lakers will receive Howard, the Denver Nuggets will acquire Andre Iguodala, the Philadelphia 76ers will receive Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson, and the Magic will get Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Nikola Vucevic and one protected future first-round pick from each of the three teams. The Lakers will also acquire Earl Clark and Chris Duhon, and the Magic will receive draft picks from the Nuggets (2014), 76ers (2015) and Lakers (2017). In addition, the Magic will get 76ers first-round draft pick Moe Harkless. The center had requested a trade from the Orlando Magic on numerous occasions and not had his wishes fulfilled, yet the team clearly couldn’t enter the 2012-13 season with a distraction of Howard’s proportions on the floor. The potential move would mean that the Lakers will join the upper ranks of the NBA’s elite if the deal is confirmed Friday, which would combine Howard with Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Steve Nash (not to mention Mettaworldpeace) to make the league’s first legitimate Big Four. It would result in another proverbial powerhouse being created in the NBA, one which could make its presence quickly known amongst the rest of the league by capturing a championship.
Howard hasn’t guaranteed that LA is going to remain his stomping grounds for more than the upcoming season, however. According to Stein, Howard will not sign any new deal before the 2012-13 season. This should let him know whether or not LA is the place for him. If this move goes through, it won’t matter that he isn’t confirmed for more than a year; Howard to LA equals championship. It’s almost a given, especially considering their core of already solid talent along with the veteran presences of Bryant, Nash, and Gasol. And while it may not be confirmed as of yet, Howard will most likely remain in LA for years to come once he sees just how good of a team they can be. Now I know putting together teams with such talent can be difficult, and I’m sure it will take some time, but come mid-season the Lakers will be a force to be reckoned with. In my opinion, they will be an even better team than the defending world champion Miami Heat, whose star-studded cast falls one short of matching LA’s four bright stars. Even though they haven’t played together before, their skill sets differ from each other. And as the old adage goes, opposites attract. And practice makes perfect. So get ready for the possibility of another LA dynasty, folks. It could be hard to watch.