Five weeks after dealing for Steve Nash, the the Lakers bolstered their front court by landing the most dominant center of this generation.
Orlando, Los Angeles, Denver and Philadelphia exchanged 12 players and five future draft picks to complete the deal, ending Howard’s tenure with the Magic.
- Denver acquired All-Star forward Andre Iguodala
- Philadelphia landed All-Star center Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson
- Orlando obtained Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, fifteenth overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft Moe Harkless, Nikola Vucevic, Josh McRoberts, Christian Eyenga, three future first round picks and two second round draft selections
- Los Angeles picked up Howard, Chris Duhon and Earl Clark
The addition of Howard has once again catapulted the Lakers as to the favorites in the Western Conference as a championship would solidify the careers of Nash and Howard while surging Kobe Bryant among the greatest ever to play the game.
Los Angeles brought in Howard while only giving up Bynum and a few contributors off the bench.
The most important aspect of the deal for the Lakers was the ability to retain Pau Gasol, a 7-footer that has averaged 18.7 points and 9.2 rebounds throughout his career.
The three-time Defensive Player of the Year may not be available for the start of the regular season as he is still recovering from a herniated disc in his back that prevented him from participating in the playoffs last spring.
The surgery was performed in Los Angeles and Howard has spent a majority of his summer there this season.
“I’m happy to be here in L.A.,” Howard said during his introductory press conference. “I’ve been here for four months and it’s been like home for me.”
The Lakers have been dispatched from the second round of the post season each of the past two years, but the addition of Nash and Howard signifies the team is ready to make another title run.
In March, Howard signed a one-year extension to remain in Orlando, preventing him from becoming an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Howard reiterated his trade demand to new general manager Rob Hennigan once free agency began this summer, leading to numerous rumors surrounding the future of the superstar center.
Houston spent much of its time on draft night trying to acquire enough assets to send to the Magic.
The Mavericks spent much of their summer acquiring short term contracts to clear enough cap space to offer Howard a maximum free agent contract.
After originally hoping to join the Nets as they were opening the billion dollar Barclays Center in a few months, the Magic opted to ship Howard to the Lakers.
A new arena in Orlando now lacks the superstar that was supposed to deliver the first championship in franchise history.
Instead, the Magic need to fill a void at center and is immediately thrust into a rebuilding mode.
Throughout the organizations existence, the team has been able to trout out a superstar on a nightly basis.
While the future of Howard is still somewhat uncertain, with his contract expiring at the end of next season, leaving Los Angeles will be an unlikely choice.
Not only are the Lakers one of the most talented teams in the league, but the team will be able to offer an additional year on his contract and over $25 million more than any other suitor.
Howard was determined to leave Orlando as soon as possible and he arrived on a team looking to build a legacy.