- Dick Vitale, College Basketball analyst
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I am in Orlando for my grandsons' baseball tournament. The city is dealing with the inevitable blow, as Dwight Howard, aka Superman, has finally been dealt.
The fact that Howard was traded is not a surprise. He has been asking to be moved for a while now. The fact that he ended up in Los Angeles with the Lakers is amazing. Mitch Kupchak and the whole organization should be applauded for getting Howard and not losing Pau Gasol.
Think about it. The Lakers lineup next season has Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Gasol and Howard. That is a pretty impressive core to start with.
People will question Orlando's decision to accept this deal. New GM Rob Hennigan has roots with the Oklahoma City franchise, and he obviously believes Orlando can build in similar fashion. This deal added three first-round picks to the Magic, so Hennigan must feel he can reconstruct this franchise through the draft.
The problem is Orlando will not get a Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook or James Harden by picking 15th or later with these added choices. The picks acquired in this deal will more likely be in the 20-30 range, since Denver, Philadelphia and the Lakers will all presumably be better teams. The Magic will probably be in the lottery next year, so maybe they can catch lightning in a bottle.
The Magic got Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Nikola Vucevic and rookie Moe Harkless to go with the draft picks. Is that package better than the deal the Nets offered? Brooklyn would have sent Brook Lopez, Kris Humphries, additional players and draft picks. Houston reportedly offered a package that at first glance also looks more impressive than what the Magic settled for.
While many will focus on the Lakers getting Howard in this deal, and rightfully so, there are other intriguing elements. Philadelphia basically got Andrew Bynum for Andre Iguodala. Bynum is now arguably the best big man in the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia will be better teaming Bynum up with emerging guard Jrue Holiday and former Ohio State star Evan Turner.
Coach Doug Collins just has to motivate Bynum night in and night out. The change of scenery may help. Now that Bynum is in the spotlight, he will have a chance to shine and even dominate.
Denver gave up Harrington and Afflalo but added a star in Iguodala. He will make George Karl's team better, and the experience of playing with Team USA will improve the former Arizona star.
But Howard is obviously the biggest name in the deal. If his back is OK, he can be a force. He is the rebounder and shot-blocker to go with Kobe & Co.
Before anyone hands the Lakers the trophy, though, let's remember Oklahoma City will have a say out West. The defending champion Miami Heat will be in the equation too.
The bottom line is that the rich (Lakers) get richer. For Orlando fans, there is more separation between the haves and have nots in the NBA, with the Magic on the latter end. That has to be a concern for David Stern and Adam Silver.
In Hollywood, another shining star is coming to town. Superman will be in a Laker uniform next season. He should be awesome, baby, with a capital A!