With an end to the Dwight Howard Saga hopefully in sight, the impact of his movement is soon to be felt around the league.
Regardless of how everyone may feel about “the story that never ends,” Dwight Howard is arguably the best Big Man in the NBA, and he would be an instant impact for any team in the league. Having the Los Angeles Lakers be the team that wins the battle over Dwight improves him from an “instant impact,” to an instant NBA Finals favorite next season.
The Lakers have done well over their last two weeks. In a whirlwind of trades, tryouts, and signings, they have secured one of the best starting fives in the league and are positioned to win the title for the sixth time in the Kobe Bryant era. The addition of Howard would be considered the crown jewel among deals the Lakers have executed, including the sign and trade for 3 time League MVP, Steve Nash. One of the Lakers biggest weaknesses last season was the PG position. The Lakers offense was undeniably anemic at times in 2011, and would become one of the most potent scoring machines in the league if this deal goes through. With Steve Nash directing the flow for Howard, Pau Gasol, Meta World Peace, and Kobe there will be few defenses that could slow down a Lakers team intent on another title.
Howard will bring his defensive presence, his ability to rebound on both sides of the floor, and a much improved offensive repertoire, replacing Andrew Bynum, and solidifying a position that was formerly thought to be in no need of improvement.
Despite a pension for injury, and with the future in mind, Bynum has been untouchable in Laker trades since he came into the league. It took the prospect of having Dwight Howard don the Purple and Gold to get the front office to loosen its grip on the 25 year old Center, effectively trading the #2 Big Man in the league for the #1. Which means Andrew’s new team came out pretty good in this deal as well.
It has only been two seasons since “The Decision” and the Cleveland Cavaliers are well on their way back towards NBA relevance. Selecting Kyrie Irving last year was a huge step in the right direction and the future looks very bright for the reigning Rookie of the Year. Adding Andrew Bynum would give the Cavs a formidable one-two combination that would be surrounded by young talents Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson, and Tyler Zeller.
Unlike the Lakers, Cleveland would not become immediate favorites to win the NBA Championship, but they would not be too far off. The core of Bynum, Waiters, and Irving would take the Cavs deep within the playoffs, and would pose a serious threat to the top teams in the East.
Irving, is recovering from surgery to repair a broken hand he suffered earlier this week during a Team USA practice, but all reports are positive, and the talented point guard should have no problem recovering before the start of the training camp. Having a point guard as skilled as Irving will be a blessing to Bynum, who has never been in a system ran by a true PG. Bynum has become very good at creating his own offensive opportunities, but with Irving creating for him, the big man would be find himself in the position to truly challenge Howard as the best at their position.
Another byproduct of this trade is the potential of a Playoff rivalry for the ages, when and if the Cavaliers find themselves in elimination games against their former superstar, Lebron James and the Miami Heat.
There have been vey few teams/cities/states that have been so thoroughly spurned by their “messiah” the way that Cleveland was when the best player in the NBA chose to chase a championship with the Miami Heat. These two teams would make for a true “Must See” series, and with the youth and talent on both teams, we would get see this clash for several years to come.
The Orlando Magic are the short term losers in this deal, but they can take solace from the draft picks and the cap space they will get from dumping several player friendly contracts. For a team that is being forced to rebuild, the Magic will find themselves in a fantastic position.
Regardless of which conference you look at, the changes would be felt immediately. The Lakers would resume their role as the Western Powerhouse, forcing teams like Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs to keep pace. In the East, the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, and Boston Celtics will also need to press harder to challenge the Miami Heat for the right to represent their conference in the Finals.
While the NBA Rumors are picking up speed, no deal has been finalized between the three teams. Hopefully they get something done soon, because this scenario appears to be as close to a win-win-win as they are ever going to get.
Now, if we can just get David Stern to sign off…
Jeff Everette is a featured columnist for RantSports.com, covering the NFL and NBA. You can follow him on twitter @jeverettesports, or subscribe to Jeff Everette-RantSports.com on both Facebook and Google+ for all of his latest articles, opinions, and rants.
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