Trade Analysis and Fantasy Value Implications: Dwight Howard to the Lakers

Dwight Howard won big and the Orlando Magic were the big losers.  Reports this morning have Howard going to the Los Angeles Lakers to join Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol.  That should put the Lakers in a good spot to take the title in the West.  The only concern is Howard’s health.  Back injuries can be tricky, but Howard is supposed to return for camp 100%.  We’ll see.

Here’s the players on the move in this big one:  LA gets Howard, Philadelphia gets Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson, Orlando gets Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Nikola Vucevic and Moe Harkless.

Dwight Howard’s fantasy ranking and projection doesn’t change much, he’s still the number one center on the board and a first round pick.  The only effect that I can see in LA is on Pau Gasol and his rebound numbers.  When LA puts Howard in the middle, then Pau should shift out more to the perimeter, which could help his offensive game, but hurt his rebounding and shot blocking.  Steve Nash should have a field day feeding Howard.  It could also be a big help to Kobe if opponents try to double up on Howard and leave the perimeter open.

Andrew Bynum will now be the starting center in Philadelphia and the focal point of that offense.  I have Bynum as my number two center in the rankings, but this move really closes the gap between Howard and Bynum.  The Sixers will ask Bynum to be everything and I expect that his stat projections will rise sharply since he doesn’t have to compete with the likes of Kobe, Nash and Gasol in the offense.  Now he only has to compete with Holiday, Thaddeus Young and Spencer Hawes.  Big difference.

The two guys hurt in Philly are Spencer Hawes and Kwame Brown.  There’s really no reason to keep both guys on the roster now, so maybe there’s another trade brewing.  I’ve seen some talk of the Sixers moving Hawes to PF, but I just don’t see that working.

A couple  of guys who could benefit are Dorell Wright and Thaddeus Young.  With Iguodala now out of the picture, the Sixers have to fill the starting SF spot and I’d expect that Young gets first shot, unless they decide to go with a starting five of Holiday, Turner, Wright, Young and Bynum, while using Jason Richardson, Lavoy Allen, Hawes and Brown as a second unit.  Either way, Dorell Wright is definitely helped since he only has Young, but not Iguodala, to compete with for minutes.

Jason Richardson has a chance to work his way back into some decent minutes if he can beat out Evan Turner for the starting SG spot.  Even if he becomes a source of scoring off the bench with the second unit, he will still be a valuable source of threes in fantasy leagues.

Andre Iguodala finally gets out of Philadelphia and fantasy owners should be thrilled about the change of scenery.  For the last couple of seasons it’s seemed like his talents were being used incorrectly and pretty much wasted by the coaching staff in Philly.   He’s now in Denver and should step into either the starting SG or SF spot, depending on how George Karl wants to play it.  The Nuggets currently have Danilo Gallinari at small forward and Wilson Chandler at shooting guard after trading away Arron Afflalo.  I’m guessing that he starts at shooting guard since Wilson Chandler can pretty much go at either SG or SF.

Orlando really didn’t get much in this trade and it seems like the previous Brook Lopez discussion would have been a much better return for Howard.   Arron Afflalo is probably the best player that they got in this deal, but from a fantasy perspective he’s still going to be competing for minutes with J.J. Redick, so his fantasy value is a bit cloudy until roles are defined in camp.

Al Harrington could be a big winner if the Magic decide to plug him in at center.  He’s got a great scoring touch and can shoot the three, which is a bonus from the center position.  The other option here is to use Harrington to basically act as a replacement for Ryan Anderson at PF since both guys play the same kind of perimeter game.  If they go  this route, Glen Davis will lose some minutes at the PF spot.

If the Magic decide not to go with Harrington at center, they could instead turn to the other guy acquired in this deal, Nikola Vucevic.  Vucevic was the odd man out in Philly with Spencer Hawes and Kwame Brown already on the roster, so this move definitely gives him a shot at being fantasy relevant.  Vucevic has some size at 7’0, 240 pounds, but he’s still pretty raw at just 21 years old.  He got about 16 minutes a game in his rookie season and his per/36 numbers were pretty decent at 12.5 points, 10.9 rebounds and 1.5 blocks.

Moe Harkless has to like getting out of the crowded SF competition in Philadelphia.  The Magic currently have Hedo Turkoglu at small forward, but I really think that he might also be on his way out of Orlando with the Magic clearly in rebuilding mode.  If Turkoglu gets shipped out, then Harkless could get a chance at decent minutes.

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