10:20 am Aug. 10, 2012
The news blew up late Thursday night: Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers in a four-team deal.
Anything less would have been a letdown, after an ongoing circus surrounding Howard, his desire to stay in Orlando, several reversals, an attempt to force his way to the Brooklyn Nets. Something huge had to serve as the climax.
Thus, a four-team deal that is huge, even as the league has scheduled a conference call to discuss it, and reportedly still growing. There's an outside chance you will eventually be part of the Dwight Howard deal.
The deal is, to say the least, much bigger than the Knicks. But it affects them all the same, and probably hurts them in terms of 2012-13 and their competition in the Eastern Conference.
With the caveat that the deal isn't finalized, the major parts are: Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Nikola Vucevic, just drafted Moe Harkless and a collection of draft picks to Orlando, Howard to Los Angeles, center Andrew Bynum to Philadelphia, and Andre Iguodala to Denver.
Getting Dwight Howard out of Orlando was probably happening, regardless of whatever else happened. If he stayed in Orlando for 2012-13, the chances of Howard bringing his A-game and lifting his Magic teammates was ... well, it wasn't happening. So yes, it is good for the Knicks not to have to face Howard as much this year, or get past him in the playoffs. But it was probably a non-issue anyway.
The 76ers, however, were having a pretty rough offseason. They'd added Nick Young, a high-volume shooter without the quality defending of J.R. Smith. They hadn't addressed their scoring woes. And Moe Harkless had a very good chance to excel for them, but essentially repeated what they already had in Iguodala and Evan Turner.
Now, the Sixers possess the second-best center in the league in Bynum. There are questions about his health, but frankly, there are questions about Dwight Howard's health, with the latter coming off of back surgery. There's no guarantee Bynum stays in Philadelphia long-term, but at the very least, he presents a massive matchup issue for any Eastern Conference team that the Sixers simply didn't have before the deal. Iguodala is a strong defender and inconsistent scorer who will be missed, but trading him and a pick for the chance to add an elite center is a chance to take anytime.
A Howard deal away from the Nets was supposed to be a pure win for the Knicks. Now, even with the center 3,000 miles away, the deal has produced a new headache for the Knicks just down the New Jersey Turnpike.
Elsewhere in New York sports:
Eric Chavez and Mark Teixeira hit a pair of eighth-inning homers to lift the Yankees over the Tigers.
Andy Pettitte's return date isn't certain.
R.A. Dickey, freed from the possible onus of short-rest usage, went out and dominated again in a 6-1 Mets win over the Marlins.
Mets fans get their first live look at Matt Harvey Friday night.
The U.S. takes on Argentina Friday night for the right to play in the gold medal game on Sunday.
The Red Bulls look to avenge last Friday's loss in Houston by beating the Dynamo Friday night at Red Bull Arena.
The preseason opener against the Bengals Friday night will include, according to reports, Tim Tebow.