Howard to Lakers in four-team deal

841503.png

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.

Dwyane Wade, Bulls take first blood with LeBron James, Cavs

Dwyane Wade, Bulls take first blood with LeBron James, Cavs

Dwyane Wade gathered the ball after losing the dribble and bearing down on him was the man who refused to switch off him, LeBron James.

James prepared to block Wade’s layup but a little craftiness beat James’ athleticism on the way to the basket, rolling in for Wade’s 21st and 22nd points with 2:30 left in the fourth.

Wade was the one who made sure to let everyone know this game wasn’t just any old game, and for 37 minutes (season-high) he played like it. Moments later he forced James into a turnover, then another as he sandwiched an offensive rebound and layup between the two possessions.

The layup gave the Bulls an eight-point lead with 2:30 left as the Bulls took first blood in their season series with the NBA champions with a 111-105 win at the United Center Friday — a game that was more anticipated for pregame activities than what was to be expected on the floor.

The Bulls expected to take the Cavaliers’ best shot after two poor performances, and one wouldn’t have been surprised to see a blowout from the champs looking to refocus.

What occurred was an aroused Bulls team, taking advantage of the national stage, a reeling opponent and a frisky leader in Wade, who finished with 24 points, five rebounds and four assists in 37 minutes.

Jimmy Butler shook off a unusual shooting night, partially due to the energy exerted from guarding James most of the night, scoring 26 points with eight boards and six assists.

It was pretty early and grimy late, which is the way playoff basketball is to be played. Speaking of grimy, Taj Gibson was a leader early and throughout, scoring 23 points with 11 rebounds and five assists, making his first nine field goals.

They dominated the Cavs inside, exposing their lack of interior defense as the Cavs have sacrificed rim protection in place of more perimeter shooting, scoring 78 points in the paint and outrebounding them 49-33.

Gibson started off going 5-for-5 in the first quarter, taking it straight to Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson. Even his imperfections were forgiven early, as a missed dunk was wiped out by a foul called on Love when it appeared Love barely blew on him.

At times, Wade guarded James and vice-versa, leading to some competitive theatre and playful banter. It was no less competitive, though, as James’ pinpoint passing and drives to the basket were often a beauty to behold, scoring 27 points with 13 assists and five rebounds in 45 minutes after his walk of shame through the bowels of the United Center wearing Chicago Cubs regalia after losing a World Series bet to Wade.

Rajon Rondo, a man who is no stranger to bouts with James’ teams, put together his most impactful game as a Bull with 15 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds in 36 minutes.

Kyrie Irving scored 20 for the Cavaliers but took 21 shots and Love scored 15 with nine boards but was a liability defensively.

James was frustrated with his teammates, often rolling his eyes or forgetting to get back on defense. But the Bulls failed to shut the door when the Cavs were reeling, and a James layup made it 92-89.

The Bulls didn’t fold, though, with Rondo and Wade making the necessary plays along with Butler doing his best to corral James defensively, leading to a bounceback victory and a message that perhaps they can compete on call.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Bulls welcome Cavaliers to town

stl.jpg

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Bulls welcome Cavaliers to town

In the latest installment of the SportsTalk Live Podcast, the panel previews the Bulls' matchup against the Cavaliers. 

Luke Stuckmeyer is joined by Mark Carman (WGN Radio), David Schuster (670 The Score) and Kendall Gill to break down the keys to a Bulls win. Later, Vincent Goodwill (CSNChicago.com) joins Luke to discuss the team's progress. 

Finally, LeBron James pays off his World Series bet and the entire media world is there to see it. 

Check out the SportsTalk Live Podcast below: