Our long national Dwightmare might be over. Finally, after years upon years of speculation, a ridiculous drama-fest of an offseason, and entire franchises being held hostage to the whims of Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic front office, we have the following from ESPN:
A four-team trade that would send Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers is complete, multiple sources told ESPN on Thursday night.
A source with direct knowledge of the talks told ESPN.com's Marc Stein the Lakers will receive Howard, the Denver Nuggets 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.
Best of all? There is no Pau Gasol mentioned among those names, which means that Mitch Kupchak has pulled off arguably the greatest offseason by a Laker general manager since 1996, the fabled year when Jerry West acquired Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant. The benefits of Howard have been documented to no end, and he is unarguably the best center the Lakers have had since Shaq. All in all, he is a worthy name to add to the pantheon of great Laker centers.
With a top four of Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and now Howard, the Lakers have possibly the most talented roster in the league outside of Oklahoma City and Miami, and all the tools to be a dominant team on both ends. There still are some holes that might need to be filled before the season, but with two massive additions in Nash and Howard, the Lakers have to be considered among the top contenders for the championship this year and beyond. Given the sheer ignominy the last two seasons have ended in, the Lakers have undertaken a paradigm shift that many would have thought unthinkable two months ago due to their limited resources, and it very well might allow them to hang number seventeen in the rafters.