In exchange for Howard, the Lakers will acquire Earl Clark and Chris Duhon, the Nuggets will acquire Andre Iguodala, the 76ers will receive Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson, and the Magic will get Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Nikola Vucevic and one protected future first-round pick from each of the three teams. And for those of you who care about the minute crap, the draft picks the Magic will receive are Nuggets (2014), 76ers (2015) and Lakers (2017).
Now the question is, does this make the Lakers the team to beat? My answer: not quite.
Before you all ask to have me drug-tested, follow me on this one. The only player the Lakers gave up was Andrew Bynum. So in what was essentially a center swap, the Lakers didn’t really upgrade as much as you’d think.
Bynum is a better offensive player than Howard. Bynum can hit his free throws a lot better than Howard (69% to 59%). And more importantly, Bynum is a pure 7-footer and has more muscle. Howard is listed at 6’11” and is leaner.
And here’s the capper: the Lakers lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder with a pure 7-footer with a good offensive skill set. You think Howard would improve their chances next season?
It’s still going to be Miami Heat-Thunder II in next year’s Finals.
By the way, no one is talking about how much better the 76ers are with Bynum. They have the best pure 7-footer in the Eastern Conference.
Meanwhile, things have gotten a bit harder for my New York Knicks. First the Nets keeping Deron Williams, trading for Joe Johnson and moving to my home borough of Brooklyn, and now this? Damn…