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Dwight Howard Finally Traded To The Lakers

Laker Trade Rumor – Finally, after months of speculation, false rumors and wild guesses, Dwight Howard appears to be traded. The former Orlando Magic center, who has some serious reputation rebuilding to do, landed in the right place to do it: In Los Angeles with the Lakers.

A blockbuster four-team deal is expected to be approved today by the NBA, a trade that bolts the Lakers right back into the championship conversation.

According to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, who spoke to Howard Thursday, the perennial all-star center from Atlanta is ecstatic about being out of Orlando and a new member of the storied Laker franchise.

Now, Los Angeles has a powerhouse lineup that includes future Hall of Famers Kobe Bryant, recently acquired point guard Steve Nash and Howard, along with forwards Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace. That starting group matches up with or is better than any in the NBA.

The deal that got him there was this: the Lakers will receive Howard, the Denver Nuggets get all-star and Olympian Andre Iguodala from Philadelpha; the 76ers will receive center Andrew Bynum from the Lakers and Jason Richardson from the Magic; and Orlando acquires Arron Affalo, Al Harrington, Nikola Vucevic from Denver and one protected future first-round pick from each of the three teams. In addition, the Magic will be getting other pieces, including 76ers No. 1 draft pick Moe Harkless.

Howard has been living in Los Angeles since the end of the NBA season, recovering from minor back surgery. He’s grown to “love” L.A., according to Smith. And while he intends to become a free agent after the upcoming season, the Lakers are convinced he will re-sign with them.

If approved, he’d be the fourth mega-center traded to the Lakers, following Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O’Neal. Those Hall-of-Fameers (O’Neal is a lock to be inducted) have nine NBA titles between them with the Lakers.

This trade would end a saga that has damaged Howard’s reputation. He’s changed his mind more than once about wanting a trade, putting Orlando in a tough situation. Howard, after opting for another year with the Magic, turned around later and told the team of his desire to be moved, specifically to the Brooklyn Nets. However, Orlando general manager Rob Hennigan turned down several offers from Brooklyn that included center Brook Lopez and three first-round draft picks, among other compensation.

Talks with the Nets went on for months, until the team just finally got exasperated and ended all discussions with Orlando. Brooklyn then re-signed Lopez, making him untradeable until January.

Meanwhile, Hennigan more than once asked Howard to reconsider his stance on wanting out of Orlando. Howard refused to budge, telling Perrigan as much during a one-on-one meeting in Los Angeles last month.

Finally convinced they could not get Howard to reverse his position, the Magic – led by president Alex Martins, according to ESPN and not Hennigan – gave in to Howard’s wishes. What Orlando received for the consensus best center in the NBA is far less than they could/would have received if it had made the Nets deal long ago.

Meanwhile, Bynum is shipped from L.A. after finally establishing himself as a prominent big man.      Philadelphia is willing to gamble that the free agent after next season will re-sign with the team.

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