August 22, 2012
By Kassan Bahhur
The Dwight Howard trade is done and the dust has begun to settle. There were four teams, 11 players, and five draft picks involved in the fiasco. With Howard added, it is obvious that the Los Angeles Lakers will now contend for the NBA Championship and without Dwight Howard the Orlando Magic will battle for the first overall draft pick in 2013. The question still remains how did the other two teams, Philadelphia and Denver, fair in facilitating the blockbuster trade? The question will be answered.
The 76’ers drafted Evan Turner as the second pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. It has been two years and Evan Turner was still coming off of the bench behind Andre Iguodala. The 76’ers felt that this was the year to either play Turner full-time minutes at small forward or trade him and move forward with Iguodala. They decided to play him Turner, by trading Iguodala. In this trade the 76’ers acquired the second best center in the NBA in Andrew Bynum, but giving up Iguodala they did not lose much with Evan Turner waiting his turn on the bench. The 76’ers now have two top notch 7 footers and the best center duo in the NBA. Orlando’s starting shooting guard Jason Richardson was thrown in the deal to make contracts work in the trade, however Richardson will be Philly’s starter on opening night. The 76’ers are winners in this trade. Last year the 76’ers were one of the deepest team in the league but lacked star power. This season the 76’ers have the best center in the Eastern Conference and an All-Star in Bynum. They also may have their All-Star small forward in Turner once he gets starter minutes.
The Denver Nuggets were a surprise team in this trade. Nobody heard them mentioned in any Howard rumors this summer. What did they get? How about Andre Iguodala, one of the most complete two-way players in the league. What did they give up? Not much. They traded an aging power forward in Al Harrington, who is a volume shooter and doesn’t supply anything other than scoring, and also a role player in shooting guard Arron Afflalo. If this Iguodala project fails, then he will go into free agency in 2013 and his $14.7 million contract comes off the books (assuming he opts out if the project fails). Arron Afflalo and Al Harrington had a combined three years and $44 million left on their present contracts. The Denver Nuggets now have financial flexibility moving forward. The Nuggets are a young and upcoming team, but they were missing veteran toughness, and Iguodala is all that and then some. He plays defense, scores, rebounds, and averages almost 6 assists per game from the small forward position. The Nuggets roster is dangerous from top to bottom and with the addition of Iguodala they now will play defense to go along with already established scoring.
From this trade, it was easy to see that the Lakers are relevant again and the Orlando Magic are rebuilding. However, what the trade did for the other two teams will be determined once the season beings. The trade made the 76’ers one of the top teams in the weak Eastern Conference. The Denver Nuggets gave up role players and expensive long-term contracts for a proven veteran, hardnosed, defensive minded Andre Iguodala. The Lakers will win this year, however they are an aging team, and the Nuggets are prepared to push the Lakers similar to the way the young Oklahoma City Thunder did a few years ago. In a few years this trade will be the factor that causes the changing of the guards in the Eastern and Western Conference.