Updated at 4:12 p.m. with Kobe Bryant reaction
The Dwight Howard trade was finalized this afternoon and Kobe Bryant, playing with the U.S. team in the Olympics, welcomed his new teammate on Facebook:
“Well, it looks like Superman has found a home. I wish nothing but the best for Big Bynum. I hope he follows what was a great season last year with an even better one next year. I know LA is excited about the deal and rightfully so. The Lakers landed a piece that will hopefully carry the franchise long after I’m gone. I have spoken to Dwight Howard already and we are locked and loaded to bring back the title. Wow, what a summer Jimmy and Mitch have had so far. Unreal! I’m focused on our semifinal game vs Argentina but I had to pause for a few to send you my thoughts, in case you were curious…”
The finalized deal involves four teams, 12 players and five draft picks:
Andrew Bynum goes from the Lakers to the Philadelphia 76ers, who send Andre Iguodala to the Denver Nuggets.Orlando gets Arron Afflalo and Al Harrington from Denver, Moe Harkless and Nikola Vucevic from Philadelphia, and Josh McRoberts and Christian Eyenga from the Lakers. Besides Howard, the Lakers get Chris Duhon and Earl Clark from Orlando. The Magic also send Jason Richardson to Philadelphia. In addition, Orlando gets five draft picks over five years.
Original post, 9:23 a.m.
Finally, Dwight Howard is getting out of Orlando.
The Magic center is headed for the Los Angeles Lakers in a four-team, eight-player deal that is only slightly less complex than a mission to Mars. It is expected to be finalized this morning, according to multiple reports.
The Lakers will send Andrew Bynum to Philadelphia, which would also get Jason Richardson from Orlando. Denver will send Arron Afflalo and Al Harrington to the Magic and will get Andre Iguodala from the 76ers. Orlando will get Nikola Vucevic and Moe Harkless from Philly, as well as lottery-protected first-round picks from each of the three teams.
So, instead of playing out the string in Orlando and becoming a free agent next year or going to Brooklyn or any number of other scenarios posited over the last six months or so, Howard is headed to Los Angeles, where the Lakers’ offseason run has erased the sting of the failed Chris Paul deal.
General Manager Mitch Kupchak had vowed to “try to hit a home run” and has managed to add Steve Nash and Howard, as well as signing Antawn Jamison to a veteran’s minimum while keeping Jordan Hill and Pau Gasol. If Howard, who has averaged 18.4 points and 13 rebounds in eight seasons in Orlando, can be the next vaunted Lakers big man and mesh with Kobe Bryant, the team might just fulfill the Los Angeles Times’ claim that it’s a contendah and keep pace with Oklahoma City and Miami.
What are the chances that a title is in store for the Lakers next year?