The reported Dwight Howard trade that rocked the NBA on Thursday night will have seismic effects on the four teams involved. The Sixers, who will acquire Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson in the deal and ship out Andre Iguodala, Nikola Vucevic, first-rounder Moe Harkless and a first-round pick, seem to have traded youth for some interior presence.
Bynum is probably the second-best player in the deal, and may yet be the one with the most upside, so getting him is a major plus for a team giving up no better a player than Iguodala, a hellhound of a perimeter defender who is not quite a go-to option offensively.
But the accumulation of talent the Sixers are throwing into the deal is somewhat alarming if the only return is Bynum, who still presents an injury risk. Vucevic is a big body, and looked like he could be a decent backup center. Harkless has one of the biggest upsides of the 2012 NBA Draft class. And Iguodala, who was seemingly always on the way out of Philly in one rumored trade or the next, is one of the game's best defenders, good enough to be on the Olympic team despite some offensive limitations.
The first-rounder was likely no better than a pick in the late teens, because these Sixers are likely to be in the playoffs year in and year out, but could have been a younger, cheaper and maybe better player than Richardson.
If this deal is going to eventually work out for the Sixers, it'll be because Bynum stayed healthy and kept developing, giving Philadelphia an inside force for five or six years at least. If Bynum gets hurt or stagnates, Sixers fans might be calling this deal a dud before too long.