The Los Angeles Lakers have acquired three-time Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard from the Orlando Magic in a four-team trade, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak. In addition to Howard, the Lakers will receive Chris Duhon and Earl Clark from the Magic while sending Josh McRoberts, Christian Eyenga and a future protected first round and 2015 protected second round draft pick to Orlando. Andrew Bynum will be sent to the Philadelphia 76ers.
Howard, the first player in NBA history to earn three consecutive Defensive Player of the Year Awards (2009, 2010, 2011), has been named First Team All-NBA in each of the past five seasons (Third Team in 2006-07), First Team All-Defense in each of the past four seasons (Second Team in 2007-08) and has made six consecutive All-Star appearances for the Eastern Conference (five straight starts).
Selected by the Magic with the first overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft out of Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy, Howard has appeared in 621 career regular season games, averaging 18.4 points, 13.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.01 steals and 2.16 blocks in 36.2 minutes. Owning the fifth best career field goal percentage (.577) in NBA history, Howard has finished ranked among the league’s top 10 in field goal accuracy in each of his eight NBA seasons while having led the NBA in total rebounds six times and in blocks twice.
This trade makes the Lakers the team to beat in the Western Conference in my opinion. Not taking anything away from the Oklahoma City Thunder or San Antonio Spurs, but this Lakers team is absolutely loaded now.
The Lakers have added Steve Nash and now Dwight Howard this offseason to play alongside Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. We may finally get the long-awaited NBA Finals matchup between Kobe and LeBron James next June.