Bill Simmons on the Lakers' uncanny ability to finesse a deal without giving up the farm: "And as always with the Lakers, it worked out: They flipped the league's second-best center (a top-20 player) into the league's best center (and third-best player in the league) without sacrificing anything else of substance. I wrote this a few weeks ago and I'm writing it again: If scientists could create basketball-playing robots from scratch and were asked to create someone to play with Pau Gasol, Kobe Bryant and Nash, basically, they would create Dwight Howard: a ridiculously strong shot blocker/rebounder who can run the floor and doesn't need the ball to be happy. In the span of 3.5 seconds, the Lakers went from 'old, slow, can't defend anybody' to 'who's stopping us?'"
When creative writing graduates attack, you get sonnets in the basketball blogosphere.
Basketball Prospectus' Kevin Pelton applies his SCHOENE projections to the teams involved in the four-way trade. An interesting tidbit: "This analysis suggests that, even if Howard walks, this was a decent trade for the Lakers. If they were able to sign-and-trade Howard to his new team, they would create a massive trade exception that could be used to add other players. They'd be unable to replace all of Bynum's production, but on paper the loss would be smaller than what the Lakers gain with Howard this season."
Darius Soriano of Forum Blue & Gold delivers an evocative and fitting eulogy to Andrew Bynum's time in Los Angeles, including a revisiting of this sequence with Shaquille O'Neal in 2006.
Tom Sunnergren of Philadunkia on having a 24-year-old Bynum in a Sixers' jersey: " The odds of the Sixers signing someone of Bynum’s ilk in free agency lay somewhere between “Not going to happen” and “It gets cold in Philadelphia, right? And it’s not in New York City?” so to land an elite player—which Bynum emphatically is—they had to take a risk ... Now noodle on this situation for a minute: hold it in your head, poke it a little, consider its implications; what we gave up, what we got, what it means now and down the road. Then remember this: last off-season, people were clamoring for the Sixers to trade Iguodala for Monta Ellis. Straight up."
Jeremy Wagner of Roundball Mining Company examines the trade from the Nuggets' perspective. One thing we're hearing a lot of from both advanced stats mavens and those who watch Denver on a regular basis: Arron Afflalo isn't the defender today he was 18 months ago.
For the life of the saga, conventional wisdom accepted that the recipient of Howard would have to swallow some of Orlando's more onerous commitments. While the Magic were able to offload Jason Richardson, it's not as if Orlando tidied up the balance sheet long term. Rob Mahoney of the New York Times' Off the Dribble: "Orlando has naturally saved a bit in the deal, but in acquiring Afflalo (who will earn $31.2 million over the next four seasons) and Harrington (who will make a guaranteed $13.8 million over three years if the Magic release him before the 2013-14 season) without trading away the handsomely compensated Hedo Turkoglu or Glen Davis, the Magic have made less progress on that front than one might think. At present, Orlando only has a bit more than $30 million guaranteed on the books for the 2014 off-season, but that figure assumes the release of Harrington, Jameer Nelson (who has a partially guaranteed salary for that season), Gustavo Ayon (2014 FA), and J.J. Redick (2013 FA) and doesn’t yet account for any draft picks made in the interim. If the Magic are as miserable as anticipated, that cap space could dry up quickly, making the inclusion of Afflalo all the more costly and the possibility of a free-agent play even more unlikely."
Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don't Lie on Orlando's end game in the deal: "It's not a haul, though. It's a result."
Mark Ginocchio of Nets Are Scorching revisits the procession of offers Orlando received from the Nets over the past several months: "The Magic obviously could have received their best haul last winter when they passed on a non-max Lopez, Gerald Wallace and a boatload of draft picks all while shedding some of their most toxic contracts. But even what the Nets were offering last month seems more appealing in retrospect – at least compared to Arron Afflalo, Harrington, Nikola Vucevic and Moe Harkless, and three protected first-round picks, all while only unloading Jason Richardson and ...Chris Duhon."
Another team that had been lingering around the epicenter of the Howard negotiations -- the Houston Rockets. How they'll move forward without a superstar.
Zach Lowe of The Point Forward on multiple implications of the deal, the Lakers' power of incumbency in retaining Howard, whether the Clippers warrant Chris Paul's long-term commitment and how the Thunder might approach a matchup with the Lakers next spring.
What does a Sixers' starting lineup with Andrew Bynum look like? I've heard intelligent folks on both sides of the is-Thad-Young-a-3-or-is-he-a-4 debate, but a post presence like Bynum could give Young the air space he needs to thrive as a power forward.
O'Neal asks his tweeps: "Another question can Andrew Bynum excel in the east without his two bodyguards?"