The Orlando Magic finally traded Dwight Howard, sending him to the L.A. Lakers for... well, for a collection of players. Orlando will welcome Moe Harkless, Nikola Vucevic, Arron Afflalo and Al Harrington to town next season, and some additional picks over the next few years.
We asked Evan Dunlap, the ace editor of Orlando Pinstriped Post, a few questions about the deal.
Dunlap: I'm not entirely sure this deal is the best Orlando could have gotten. Speaking broadly, the goal when trading a superstar is to obtain cap flexibility, draft picks, and at least one stud prospect. Orlando got some cap flexibility, a ton of mid-tier draft picks, and precisely zero stud prospects. Sure, Maurice Harkless projects to be a rotation-caliber player in time, but he's not on the level guys like Eric Gordon and Derrick Favors were when they were dealt for superstars.
But the Magic's goal is to be absolutely dreadful for the foreseeable future so that their own picks are valuable, enabling them to rebuild quickly. In that regard, this deal is a success. Without knowing exactly what Houston was offering, it's tough to say if this four-teamer tops it. Having said that, I can't imagine Houston's offer being any worse for Orlando's purposes.
Which acquisition are you most excited about? I won't believe you if you say "Al Harrington."
Dunlap: Short-term, the answer is Arron Afflalo. He'll be 27 when the season starts, but he's a solid two-way player who's really come into his own offensively. Long-term, it's Harkless, whose versatility had scouts buzzing prior to the draft this year.
Harrington's better than his reputation might suggest, so I'm not down on him.
Was the Dwight Howard era of the Magic a success?
Dunlap: I'd have to say it was a success, despite the way it ended. He anchored one Finals trip, another Conference Finals trip, and the only Finals win in franchise history. Everything went pear-shaped after the loss to Boston in the 2010 East Finals, but that's not at all Howard's fault.