The "Dwightmare" is apparently over.
ESPN reports a four-team deal that will send Dwight Howard to the Lakers is done.
A source with direct knowledge of the talks told ESPN.com's Marc Stein the Lakers will receive Howard, the will acquire Andre Iguodala, the 76ers will receive Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson, and the Magic will get Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Nikola Vucevic and one protected future first-round pick from each of the other three teams. Sources close to the process told Stein and ESPNLosAngeles.com's Ramona Shelburne that a trade call with the league office has been scheduled for Friday to secure the necessary NBA approval to make the deal official.
First thing to note: if we've learned anything from this madness, it's that nothing is final until it's final. So I wouldn't be surprised to wake up to this entire thing swirling down the commode.
The second thing to note is Orlando seems quite happy to simply dump Dwight Howard, accept bits and pieces in return for Howard in an effort to truly nuke the Magic roster and start from scratch.
Let's just run through some quick team-by-team reaction:
Lakers: If they truly did manage to trade for Dwight Howard without giving up both Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, prepare yourself for a lot of "the league is fixed" talk. Do yourself a favor and brace for it now. A starting lineup that features Steve Nash, Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant? That will be tough to stop… though the Lakers bench will leave a lot to be desired and this is clearly as "win now" as it gets. Kobe, as good as he can look, isn't going to be around forever. Steve Nash's rookie season was somewhere around the Kennedy administration. And Pau isn't exactly a kid either. Still, getting Howard without giving up both Bynum and Gasol is a win for LA.
Orlando: Like I said (and have said before) The Magic are blowing this thing sky high. Many will lament the lack of star power in return, but the Magic don't want that. They want draft picks, young talent, and cap flexibility. They are, in short, following the Sam Presti "OKC" model. It stands to reason… Rob Hennigan both played basketball in the same program (Emerson College, a division III school in Boston), and Presti has groomed Hennigan in both San Antonio and Oklahoma City. This is Thunder redux in Orlando. They'll have upwards of $20 million to play with in 2014.
Philadelphia: Let's face it, Andre Iguodala wasn't going to lead them anywhere. They needed to move him. In return, they got the second best center in the league. If Doug Collins has any luck in screwing Andrew Bynum's head on straight, then the Atlantic Division is suddenly a bloodbath with the Sixers and Bynum (and Jason Richardson), the re-loaded Boston Celtics, the much improved (at least offensively) Brooklyn Nets and the New York Knicks. Sorry Toronto, you don't get to play.
Denver: They get Iggy, who fits their style. They also shed $43 million in future guaranteed salary. They keep a decent young team fairly intact, they get a lot of future financial flexibility. In this CBA, that's a big deal.
So it seems Dwight is off to La La Land. I feel for the Orlando Magic fans who are being slammed over the head with Deja Vu as yet another dominant young center is running off to Los Angeles. But considering how much of a baby he's been throughout this whole process, I'm sure this news… assuming it actually pans out this time… is more welcome than feared. This mess may just be over. Orlando may actually start to focus on the task of building a future winner, while Los Angeles hopes it just built a current one.