Dwight Howard trade analysis
August 11, 2012INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
It’s usually hyperbole to suggest that a single transaction has a ripple effect throughout the league, but Friday’s four-team, 12-player deal sending Dwight Howard to the Lakers touches just about every franchise in some way. Just a few examples from outside the four directly involved here:
• The Nets, Mavericks, Rockets, Hawks and any other team gearing up to either deal for Howard after Jan. 15 (Brooklyn), trade for him now (Houston) or chase him in free agency next summer (Houston, Dallas, Atlanta) has suffered a major loss. Houston and Dallas are both free to pursue Howard in any way they’d like, but the Lakers aren’t dealing him ahead of free agency, and Los Angeles will have the same home-court advantage in free agency — the ability to offer the 26-year-old center an extra year and larger raises on his contract — that helped the Nets lock up Deron Williams.
• Chris Paul, a free agent in 2013, now has to think really hard about whether the Clippers have the goods as a franchise to justify his continuing presence after next season — even if the Lakers might have this insane four-man core of Howard, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Steve Nash only through 2013-14. (Deals for the soon-to-be 34-year-old Bryant and 32-year-old Gasol expire after that season.)
• The Thunder have a new roadblock in their quest to become mainstays in the NBA Finals, and they have to prepare themselves to both match the Lakers’ size and embrace the kind of small-ball game — with Kevin Durant at power forward — that might be able to out-quick this L.A. team. They couldn’t play that style much in their second-round series against the Lakers, mostly because they had no wing other than Durant who could defend Metta World Peace down low.