Archive for the ‘Dwight Howard’ Category

The morning after the Dwight Howard trade, as my wife and I were waking up, I told her the Lakers had traded for her boyfriend. After a little bit of confusion about which of her NBA boyfriends I was talking about — could have been Dwight, Dwyane Wade or Joakim Noah — she said, “Really?! Of course they did.”

That was pretty much all of our reactions as well, including Erik Spoelstra. From Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel:

Erik Spoelstra offered his thoughts today on 640Sports on the Lakers’ acquisition of Dwight Howard, “At the end of the day I think we all, eventually, thought he’d find his way to L.A., yeah, in some way or another. They have the most pieces. I’m surprised they were able to do it without giving up maybe [Pau] Gasol in that deal, but they have a history of getting those bigs. And it just seems to happen for that franchise.”

Pretty much exactly right, Erik Spoelstra. Of course Dwight Howard was going to end up a Laker, once he decided he could stomach the obvious Shaquille O’Neal mimicry and live in Los Angeles. From the second he donned that Superman cape at the dunk contest, it was pretty much his destiny. Might as well embrace it, even if he’s going to end up like a Raekwon skit.

And really, like Jeff Weiss said yesterday and Erik Spoelstra is saying today, this kind of thing always happens for the Lakers. If your favorite team enters in to trade negotiations with the Lakers, barring any David Stern intervention, they’re going to end up taking your best player and leaving you with some draft picks, some players you try to talk yourself in to and, if you’re really lucky, a guy who ends up being better than you expected in the future.

That’s just how it is and that’s how it’s been forever and that’s how it always will be. They are the Bret Hart of trading and Dwight Howard is their newest championship belt.

Jeff Weiss is a writer and Lakers fan from Los Angeles. He runs Passion of the Weiss and several well-trafficked Elden Campbell fansites.

I’ve spent the last two years hating the Heat and now I should loathe the Lakers. The only problem is that I absolutely love the Lakers.

I have loved the Lakers since Chick Hearn called the jello jiggly, since Fletch made through the legs lay-ups, since Magic Johnson’s mythological forum club orgies with the Laker girls, Arsenio, and Eddie Murphy. I have suffered through the Smush Parker and Sedale Threatt eras and rejoiced while doing the Madsen mash.  I have never subscribed to the theory of liberated fandom because no Lakers fan has ever subscribed to the theory of liberated fandom. You don’t need to abandon your squad for the first pretty fast break when all you do is win.

If the Miami Heat weren’t obviously the DJ Khaled of NBA franchises (obnoxious, garish and propelled by a deal with the devil), the Lakers would be the next logical candidate. Their acquisition of Dwight Howard was less surprise than eventuality. Los Angeles is more gravitational vortex than metropolis — should you possess any trace of narcissism, you will wind up with a studio apartment in Studio City faster than you can say Vivid Video. But All-NBA centers are built to buck the odds. They carry girls on shoulders at the Playboy mansion and star in straight-to-DVD films. On closer inspection, things may be closer than they appear.

I admire achievement, but I am not obligated to applaud success. Achievement is the exceeding of expectations. But even if the Lakers sweep the playoffs, it will feel as though they obtained the Larry O’Brien trophy through an NBA Live cheat code. It is plastic surgery, a two-year fix before they have to re-up for some rare German silicone (Kobe can help). It feels like they’re the NBA equivalent of kids who played “Duck Hunt” with the gun three inches from the screen.

Of course, the Lakers have played this game before. Jerry Buss has spent half of his life at well drink casinos in Gardena. He understands the emotional politics of poker and the power of leverage. The Magic never will. No one ever believes them when they’re bluffing. Nor can I mourn for Orlando. Had they not tried to dump Jason Richardson’s contract, there’s a reasonable chance they could’ve acquired Pau Gasol and Bynum. Instead, the franchise revealed the depth of its abandonment issues. They freaked out that Bynum would bail just like the last hot guy and the one before that and got stuck with a few protected draft picks and some hot cheetos and takis.

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“Paint your face, clown!”Kevin Garnett heckling Dwight Howard, allegedly, during actual basketball games

It’s finally over. But it shouldn’t be.

Orlando have finally traded Dwight Howard today, sending him to the Lakers in a four team deal that sees them get in return Arron Afflalo and Al Harrington from Denver, Mo Harkless and Nikola Vucevic from Philadelphia, and three protected first round picks from each of the other three teams. In addition to this, the reported deal sees Andrew Bynum go to the Sixers, Andre Iguodala to the Nuggets, and a few other contracts thrown in that frankly do not matter.

It takes only a moment to understand quite how ridiculously good a Lakers team of Nash, Kobe, anybody, Pau and Dwight should be. It’s a team that has everything, and even if Kobe continues to play the Black Mamba way that means the unit produces at less than its optimum capacity, the lineup is so good that it just shouldn’t matter. The same guy who built the Smush Parker-Chris Mihm team has now built arguably the strongest on-paper team in NBA history, and it’s frankly brilliant. All those teams who had been maneuvering to sign him as a free agent next summer need to now change their plan, for Dwight has no incentive to leave.

Denver, meanwhile, does it again. Just as they previously overpaid to re-sign Nene without ever really wanting to, they have done something similar with Afflalo, re-signing the player to a long term contract without intending to have him long-term. The Nuggets stockpiled players always with an eye to move them on later, as evidenced by the subsequent Wilson Chandler signing, and sought to get younger, more athletic, and better. They’ve done that while also managing to get cheaper; the approximately $45 million outstanding to Afflalo and Harrington dwarfs the $30.6 mil still owed to Iggy. With Ty Lawson about to command eight figures annually, this is not to be overlooked.

Philly remains a confused, ill-fitting question mark, but upgraded their best player, which is never a bad thing. Their offseason hasn’t made a whole lot of sense to date, and the players they did bring in are now even more awkward of a fit with Bynum in play. Then again, they probably never thought this was possible. And while they had to give up their best player, a huge cog of their impressive defense and three decent young assets to do it, they got an elite offensive player at his position, something they haven’t had since Allen Iverson. In downgrading their defense slightly, they should upgrade their offense significantly, a move they simply needed to make. Now, they just need a Lou Williams type. Whoops.

But all of that is secondary. Tertiary, even. This is all about Orlando, and quite what on Earth they have done.

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If you’re anything like me, you went to bed Thursday night sore from basketball, a little too hopped up on Diet Coke and skeptical that a reported four-team trade involving Dwight Howard, Andrew Bynum and Andre Iguodala would actually get done. This is Dwight Howard in 2012 after all, which is pretty much the antithesis of things happening in a timely manner, if at all.

So imagine my (our) surprise when I checked Twitter at 3:30 am, thanks to the aforementioned Diet Cokes — Dwight Howard traded to the Lakers, plus other stuff that is interesting but not nearly as shocking.

Naturally, this leads to questions. The first among them being, of course, is Dwight Howard really a Laker? Really? For serious?

Once you ask the first one, it’s like opening a Pandora’s box of various quandaries, both large and small. For instance:

  • Is this trade going to be rescinded? Because when it comes to “basketball reasons,” the Magic are taking home far less than the Horners were going to in the first Chris Paul trade.
  • The best the Magic could get for the best center in basketball was Arron Afflalo, Teenage Mutant Ninja Harrington and horrible draft picks? And they don’t even get two of the picks until 2015 and 2017?
  • Seriously, the Magic are getting back lottery-protected picks? It’s not like any of the teams they traded with are going to be lottery teams anyway, but even if they somehow are, the Magic really aren’t getting those picks? Smart.
  • Did Chaz have anything to do with this?
  • Is this team so good that not even Mike Brown can screw it up?
  • Does this mean the Magic preferred Arron Afflalo to Brook Lopez or Andrew Bynum or Pau Gasol? Have they seen all of those players playing basketball?
  • How many games did Dwight play for the Magic after deciding not to opt out? (10, haha.)
  • Can you still get a Dwight Howard “Loyalty” t0shirt from the Magic?
  • Following an NBA title and this trade, is LeBron James turning face?
  • Is this mostly Ramon Sessions’ fault for opting out?
  • Did the Magic forget to rid themselves of Hedo Turkoglu’s and Glen Davis’ contracts?
  • Will the Nuggets lead the NBA in alley-oops caught?
  • Is this the first time two Andres (Iguodala and Miller) will be playing together since the last time they played together?
  • Who is the next star that Darryl Morey is going to pursue and not acquire?
  • Is the collective bargaining agreement pointless?
  • In turn, does that make last summer’s lockout double-pointless?
  • Is it possible to beat “Dwight Howard is ‘Taken’” as a meme?
  • How many teams has Chris Duhon played for?
  • Is the new starting lineup in Philadelphia going to be Kwame Brown at center, Andrew Bynum at power forward and Spencer Hawes at small forward since there’s a hole there and he likes hanging out on the perimeter anyways?
  • Will Dwight Howard be able to accept that he is Shaquille O’Neal? Not “basically” any more, he is him.
  • How will any of their fans want to stay Orlando Magic fans?

These were just off the top of my head. I’m sure you have a lot of questions too. Feel free to add them in the comments.