Dwight Howard to Lakers - Deal Finalized

Apr 07, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard (12) during the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center. The Magic defeated the Sixers 88-82. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Apparently the call to the league office ended about an hour ago, and a few minutes ago Sam Amick reported that Orlando GM Rob announced the trade. The Lakers announcement is here.

There's already a ton of analysis out there. Here is Zach Lowe's point forward column, which I found especially informative and detailed. He has interesting analysis of the potential ramifications for all teams involved. Chris Sheridan checks in here and this is from Ken Berger. There will be a ton of stuff by the end of the day but I wanted to get this up before our attention was diverted (please) to the Olympics where the US plays Argentina, an event that will decide who plays Spain (who won earlier today) in the gold medal game on Sunday.

The details and more after the break.

The deets from Ken Berger:

-Orlando sends Howard, Earl Clark and Chris Duhon to the Lakers and Jason Richardson to the 76ers.
-L.A. sends Andrew Bynum to Philly, and Christian Eyenga, Josh McRoberts, a conditional 2017 first-round pick and a conditional 2015 second-round pick to Orlando.
-Denver sends Al Harrington and Arron Afflalo to Orlando with a 2013 second-round pick and a 2014 first-round pick (least favorable between Nuggets' and Knicks').
-Philadelphia sends Andre Iguodala to Denver and Nikola Vucevic, Moe Harkless and a conditional first-round pick to Orlando. The Philly pick is lottery-protected in 2015 and '16, top-11 protected in '17 and top-8 protected in '18. If the Magic don't get the pick by '18, they get two second-round picks in '18 and '19 from the Sixers.

Wow, seems like a really crappy deal for Orlando, a bunch of lousy picks. Couldn't they do better in a deal with Houston? Of course, what we're really interested in is how it will affect the LA Clippers. Lowe takes note of that:

Chris Paul, a free agent in 2013, now has to think really hard about whether the Clippers have the goods as a franchise to justify his continuing presence after next season - even if the Lakers might have this insane four-man core of Howard, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Steve Nash only through 2013-14. (Deals for the soon-to-be 34-year-old Bryant and 32-year-old Gasol expire after that season.)

Okay, that makes sense. Of course the Clippers have the same upper hand with Chris Paul that the Lakers have with Dwight Howard (and the Nets had with Deron Williams). They can offer more money and more years than anyone else. A lot, I suppose, depends on how well the Clips do this year.

It's interesting, the other day, LJ Hann and I were preparing a long Lakers vs. Clippers comparison. We graded out players, went position by position, etc. We both saw the Lakers ahead, often by a lot, in the starting five. It was the bench where the Clippers were most obviously superior. It's interesting that, though the Lakers just made themselves a better team, their bench is still a huge question mark. No, it's not a question mark, it is, at this point, just bad.

So, can the Clippers overcome the Lakers? How willing are the Lakers to take on massive salary and pay the brutally punitive luxury tax? Will they do that and also pay the even more punitive "repeater" tax? How will Steve Nash and Dwight Howard fit in with the already somewhat disfunctional pairing of Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol (or Kobe Bryant and anyone)?

It's gonna be interesting.

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