Howard to Lakers in four-team deal

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Howard to Lakers in four-team deal

The Dwight Howard saga, more properly dubbed the "Dwightmare" by some, is finally over.
The NBA processed a four-team trade Friday that sent Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers, Andre Iguodala to the Denver Nuggets, Andrew Bynum to the Philadelphia 76ers, and a handful of players to the Orlando Magic.
Here is a complete rundown of the blockbuster deal:
Los Angeles receives: Dwight Howard, Earl Clark, Chris DuhonOrlando receives: Arron Afflalo, Al Harringon, Maurice Harkless, Nikola Vucevic, three protected first-round draft picksDenver receives: Andre IguodalaPhiladelphia receives: Andrew Bynum, Jason Richardson
The big winner here is Los Angeles, as they bring in Howard, a five-time All-NBA First Team member and three-time Defensive Player of the Year. The 26-year-old Howard is in the prime of his career and, despite his off-court antics this offseason, is a career 18-point, 13-rebound per game center and is one of the best defenders in the league.
Chris Duhon and Earl Clark are added bonuses to the deal, but the biggest part of the transaction may be that Pau Gasol was not part of it, as earlier reports had suggested. The Bynum-Gasol front court was the NBAs best, and Los Angeles only gets better adding Howard. If he stays beyond this season, when he is an unrestricted free agent, the deal sweetens even further.
Denver also pulls in a positive grade, adding Iguodala and his 14.9 million salary for 2012-2013 in exchange for Al Harrington and Arron Afflalo, set to make roughly 14.25 million this year. The Nuggets get younger and more talented with Iguodala, and also save the 13 million trade exception they acquired when they traded Nene Hilario to the Wizards last year. Iguodala has a player option worth nearly 16 million in 2013, but the Nuggets now have the financial flexibility to sign Iguodala long-term after shedding Harrington's contract, worth more than 21 million the next three seasons.
As it stands for the Bulls and how this trade affects the Eastern Conference, Philadelphia may all of a sudden be a contender in the East.
The 76ers finally get the franchise player in Bynum they hoped Iguodala would one day become. Iguodala seemed to have maxed his potential in Philadelphia, something Bynum, 24, has plenty of. The 7-footer comes with baggage, being known for lackadaisical and uninterested play at times, but a change of scenery and stepping out of Kobe Bryant's and Pau Gasol's shadows could do him some good. He is an unrestricted free agent after this season, but if he re-signs in Philadelphia, the 76ers have a long-term piece to their puzzle.
More importantly, losing Iguodala opens up room for Chicago native Evan Turner in the starting lineup. They lost Lou Williams to free agency (Atlanta) but added Nick Young and Dorell Wright, leaving few weaknesses in their starting lineup. It wouldn't be a shock to see the 76ers make a Pacers-like jump in 2012 into the top four of the Eastern Conference standings.
They lose 2012 first round draft pick Maurice Harkless and project big Nikola Vucevic, but the prospect of obtaining Bynum was too much to pass up.
The Magic, ironically, seem to be the only real losers in the trade. The four players (Harrington, Afflalo, Harkless, Vucevic) should all be contributors, but remember the Magic turned down a Howard deal from Brooklyn that would have netted them Brook Lopez, Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks and four first-round draft picks. Certainly the package they did receive has less value than the proposed deal from Brooklyn.
And while a Howard trade was inevitable, the Magic all of a sudden go from a playoff contender to a team that will struggle to make the second season. Whether that has an effect on the Bulls, who may or may not be in a similar position without Derrick Rose, remains to be seen.

Bulls erase recent struggles, hand Spurs first road loss of season

Bulls erase recent struggles, hand Spurs first road loss of season

Jimmy Butler kicked his legs out and the ball swirled around, and around and stopped…before rolling in after the official’s whistle blew for a foul.

The pushback from the rim on an imperfect night for Butler seemed to capture his feelings perfectly

The San Antonio Spurs stalked the Bulls after sleepwalking for 24 minutes, and Kawhi Leonard will probably be in Butler’s nightmares as he shadowed the two-time all-star all night — as the league’s best out-of-nowhere two-way players battled all night.

Butler went scoreless in the first half and his streak of 20-point games ended at 15 but he came away with the most important statistic as the Bulls ended their three-game losing streak and the Spurs’ 13-0 road streak to start the season with a perfectly predictable 94-88 win at the United Center Thursday night.

Dwyane Wade led the Bulls with 20 points, including a couple buckets when the Bulls were reeling late and needing some stability in the worst way, hitting Taj Gibson for an inside dunk with two minutes remaining.

This is what the Bulls do, author improbable storybook endings on national TV against quality opponents when the odds are stacked against them and public conversation begins to sway in the other direction after some puzzling losses.

But with Doug McDermott back after missing 11 games and the stage of a national audience at home — the night was tailor-made for the Bulls to pull out a win like this, even without Butler being his usual self.

Butler scored 13 with nine rebounds, including two on the offensive end while the Bulls were trying to seal the win, with four assists and two steals in 38 minutes.

Leonard, the 2014 NBA Finals MVP for his work against LeBron James, was the only starter aside from Pau Gasol to get a rhythm in a rhythmless game, scoring 24 with eight rebounds and five assists while doggedly defending Butler.

Leonard had two straight ridiculous 3-point plays that seemed awkward and prayer-like but pulled the Spurs to within six midway through the fourth quarter, pulling the Spurs back from an 18-point deficit.

It seemed like the Spurs were sleeping and just waiting for an opportunity to pounce on the Bulls, and of course, the expectation was for a Bulls collapse considering how putrid their fourth quarters have been recently.

Patty Mills kept shaking free of the Bulls defense to hit four triples while the Bulls couldn’t fully pull away, despite all five starters scoring in double figures and Rajon Rondo coming an assist shy of getting a triple-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

They won’t have many games where Butler and Wade aren’t the headliners, but then again, they won’t have many games where the defense actually picks up the slack against one of the more disciplined offensive teams in the league

Butler didn’t score until midway through the third quarter, finally shaking free of Leonard in semi-transition for a short jumper to put the Bulls up 60-47.

But the Spurs began to wake up and nearly did more than make the Bulls sweat. But in these early tilts, the more desperate team usually wins.

And although the Bulls don’t want to admit it, they needed to play like a desperate team.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Winter meetings trades for Cubs and White Sox

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Winter meetings trades for Cubs and White Sox

Hub Arkush (Pro Football Weekly/670 The Score) and David Schuster (670 The Score) joined David Kaplan on the SportsTalk Live panel for Thursday's show.

Baseball’s winter meetings are over. Could Rick Hahn have done more this week? Plus which closer will have a better season- current Cubs closer Wade Davis or former Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman?

How much upheaval will there be on the Bears’ coaching staff this offseason? Plus are the Bulls in slump or are we finally seeing the real team show up?

Listen to this episode of the SportsTalk Live podcast here: