Sources with the Los Angeles Lakers are now confirming to us that the team has acquired center Dwight Howard in a four-team deal that will reshape the NBA.
Reports right now suggest that the Lakers landed Howard and only surrendered Andrew Bynum, Christian Eyenga, Josh McRoberts and a future protected first-round draft pick. Late reports also suggest (and have now been confirmed) that Los Angeles will also get Chris Duhon and Earl Clark in the deal.
As things appear now, the Denver Nuggets will get Andre Iguodala, the Philadelphia 76ers will acquire Bynum and Jason Richardson, and the Orlando Magic will get Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Nikola Vucevic, Moe Harkless, Christian Eyenga, McRoberts. The Magic will also get a 2013 second-round pick from Denver, a first-round pick from Denver or the New York Knicks in 2014, a conditional first-round pick from Philadelphia, a conditional second-round pick from the Lakers in 2015, and a conditional first-round pick from the Lakers in 2017. Orlando will also have a $17.8 million trade exception to use at some point over the next year.
The fact that the Lakers were able to land Howard without surrendering both Bynum and power forward Pau Gasol is a huge win for Los Angeles. Our source tells us that Los Angeles almost backed out of the deal because of the insistence that Gasol be included. They balked at an original configuration that had them taking back Harrington and giving up Gasol and essentially threatened to torpedo the whole thing if they had to include him.
Now the Lakers boast a starting five of Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant,
Ron Artest Metta World Peace, Gasol and Howard. While that group is old, it’s also really freaking good. The bench will boast some combination of Antawn Jamison, Jordan Hill, Steve Blake, Duhon, Andrew Goudelock, Darius Morris, Devin Ebanks, Darius Johnson-Odom and Josh McRoberts.
This deal still has to be approved by the NBA league office so there’s a chance it could be blocked.
Howard has said he wants to play out the 2012-13 season then explore free agency, but the Lakers will be in the best position to re-sign the six-time All-Star money-wise thanks to the rules of the new collective bargaining agreement.
It seems like Howard will be in Los Angeles long-term after this deal.
UPDATE: After hearing some rumblings, we contacted our Lakers source about the possibility of Earl Clark and Chris Duhon also going to the team as part of the deal with second-round draft picks headed back to Orlando. He couldn’t confirm that was actually going to happen, but said that aspect of things was still being worked out.
As far as he knows at this point that is a possibility, but hasn’t officially happened. The deal is on its way to the league office, but can be amended at any time during the process. He put the chances at better than 60 percent that it does, indeed happen.
Yahoo!’s Mark Spears has claimed that it will happen according to his source. Spears is usually solid, so at this point I’d believe it. But if it’s true, Los Angeles has some serious roster trimming to do before the season starts.
UPDATE II: It’s done. Clark and Duhon will head to the Lakers, while Christian Eyenga is off to Orlando. I’m going to update the above list of players to reflect that.