Orlando Magic superstar center Dwight Howard has officially been traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in a four-team trade, according to Magic officials.
In the deal, which also involves the Denver Nuggets and the Philadelphia 76ers, the Orlando Magic received Arron Afflalo and Al Harrington from Denver, Nikola Vucevic and Moe Harkless from Philadelphia and Josh McRoberts and guard/forward Christian Eyenga from the Lakers.
Philadelphia received Andrew Bynum from Los Angeles and Jason Richardson from Orlando, while Denver received Andre Iguodala from the 76ers. The Magic have also traded guard Chris Duhon and forward Earl Clark to the Lakers.
Sources confirmed the trade to Local 6 Sports Director David Pingalore on Thursday night, but the NBA's approval on Friday made it official.
In addition, the Magic have also acquired five additional draft picks over the next five years, according to a release. The draft picks include: a second round pick from Denver in 2013, a first round pick from either Denver or New York in 2014, a conditional first round pick from Philadelphia and a conditional second round pick from the Lakers in 2015, and a conditional first round pick from the Lakers in 2017.
Howard had repeatedly sought a trade to the Brooklyn Nets, but Orlando failed to work out a deal, paving the way for the Lakers to get the All-Star.
“Dwight Howard accomplished tremendous success on and off the court during his eight years in Orlando,” said Magic GM Rob Hennigan in a release. “We wish him, Chris (Duhon), Earl (Clark) and Jason (Richardson) all the best in the future.”
Hennigan spoke alongside head coach Jacque Vaughn at a news conference on Friday in a somewhat somber tone and said he felt the trade was the best deal for the team. He said his decision wasn't based on emotions, but on who wants to be a part of the team, calling it a "basketball decision."
"We wanted a mixture of things--flexibility, some good young players to grow with our team," Hennigan said. "We didn't make this decision for tomorrow. We made it to make something, to building something. You have to think more long-term than short term."
Hennigan also praised the Magic fans, saying "the great thing about this organization other than this ownership group is the fanbase."
Fans who spoke to Local 6 had mixed feelings about the Howard trade.
"If you don't want to be here, move out of the way and let someone who does want to be here come and be the best that they can be," a fan said.
"The Magic is the citizens, as well. We don't need Dwight Howard, just like we didn't need Shaquille O'Neal," another fan said.
Howard, 27, was drafted by the Magic in 2004 out of high school. He led the Magic to the NBA Finals in 2009 against the Lakers, losing 4 to 1. Howard, who averaged 20 points and 15 rebounds last season, is a six-time All-Star, six-time All-NBA team selection, five-time All-Defensive member and three-time Defensive Player of the Year.
Hennigan said the Magic and Howard tried to mend fences amidst the trade talk.
"We tried to establish a relationship with Dwight that was built on interpersonal exchanges and really more than anything just a personal touch," Hennigan said. "While we were working on that, we were working on an option. Throughout the process, things were very professional and very business-like, and for that we appreciate. In terms of relaying the message, 'here's where you're going.' It was pretty short."
Vaughn also fielded questions at the news conference, particularly about the new players.
"I believe in the dynamic of a team that wants to be there," Vaughn said. "When we start this season, we would have guys that would want to be great and that would want to wear Magic uniforms."
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