By Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – In the same trade, the Sixers have finally traded Andre Iguodala, and the Magic have finally traded Dwight Howard.
The Sixers, Nuggets, Lakers and Magic have finalized a trade that sends Dwight Howard to the Lakers, Andre Iguodala to the Nuggets, and Andrew Bynum to the Sixers.
I know, I know, I can't believe it either.
Here's a list of everyone involved:
The Sixers get Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson.
The Lakers get Dwight Howard, Earl Clark and Chris Duhon.
The Nuggets get Andre Iguodala.
The Magic get Moe Harkless, Nikola Vucevic, Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Christian Eyenga, Josh McRoberts and protected first round picks from each team, and a second round pick from Denver.
Andre Iguodala reacted to the trade on Twitter, saying, "Trade is official. My thanks to Philly and Sixers fans for your support over the last 8 yrs," and "I'm excited to be joining the @denvernuggets and I know my best basketball is ahead of me!"
Wow, just, wow. Not only are the Sixers getting more for Andre Iguodala than most anyone expected, it's happening when Doug Collins is in London doing color commentary for the Olympics, and the Sixers have a GM who was thought to be powerless.
Let's try to break this down here.
READ RELATED: Spike Eskin's Farewell To Andre Iguodala
First, in Bynum, the Sixers get (when healthy) the second best center in the NBA. There are some that suggested this year that Bynum is and can be even better than Dwight Howard. I'm not one of those people, but Bynum's skills on offense are far further advanced than Howard's are, that's for certain. Bynum is also just 24 years old.
The Sixers also get a very solid guard in 31 year-old Jason Richardson. A 37% shooter from three, who has averaged 17.5 points per game during his career. His best days are probably behind him, but he'll be a solid contributor.
There are, of course, questions about Bynum, namely his health and maturity. First, the health; in his seven years as a pro, Bynum has only played in a full 82 games once. From 2007 until 2011, he missed an average of 30 games due to knee problems. The knee problems were injuries, and not degenerative conditions. He was healthy and very productive in 2011-12, having his best season, scoring 18.7 points per game, grabbing 11.8 rebounds per game in 35.7 minutes per game. Bynum shot 56% from the floor and 70% from the free throw line.
Now, the maturity; Bynum can be a knucklehead, as Charles Barkley would say. Whether it's throwing forearm shivers in playoff games, getting DUI's, or shooting three pointers just for the fun of it in close games, Bynum's character has been a question. That said, so has Dwight Howard's character.
For an extended look at Bynum, check out THIS POST from Liberty Ballers.
The Sixers give up arguably the best defensive wing player in the NBA in Iguodala, and their first round pick this year in Moe Harkless and last year's in Nikola Vucevic. Iguodala is a very, very good player and the Sixers will miss his defense and play making. But moving Iguodala should give Evan Turner and Jrue Holiday the chance to grow they so desperately need. We'll find out what they gave up in Harkless and Vucevic in a few years, but neither should be a reason not to do the deal. The first round pick from the Sixers, according to Ken Berger of CBS Sports, "is lottery protected for two years, top 11 protected in year three, top 8 protected in year four. If Magic don't get a first from Philly by 2016, they get two second-round picks, league source said."
This is a win for the Sixers on almost all accounts. To think they now have the best center in the Eastern Conference, while making sure that center doesn't end up in the same division (Brooklyn) is huge. Bynum is not signed beyond this year, but the Sixers will have the upper hand in doing that, because they'll be able to offer him one more year and more money than any other team. It's important to note that it benefits Bynum to re-sign after the year when he can sign for five years, rather than extend during they year when he can only sign for three. Even if Bynum leaves, you get his salary cap room a year before you would have had it anyway, assuming Iguodala doesn't opt out.
Trading for Bynum also changes the roles of Hawes and Brown, who are far more valuable (read this "easier to stomach") in fewer minutes. The Sixers, in Richardson, Nick Young and Dorell Wright have added three legitimate three point shooters, compared to the zero they had last year. To put last season's shooting woes in perspective, Andre Iguodala led the team in three-point shooting percentage. The power forward position will be a rotation of Lavoy Allen, Arnett Moultrie and Thaddeus Young in some combination. They're not as good as Elton Brand now, but this is a young team, and letting the young players play is a good thing.
Here's what Doug Collins had to say about the trade:
"When you think about adding Andrew Bynum, a big man who can score in the paint, rebound and block shots — something we desperately needed — and Jason Richardson adds another shooter to our lineup, so I'm very excited.
"On the flip side of that you have to trade somebody and Andre Iguodala had a brilliant career for the Philadelphia 76ers. I coached him for two years, he helped me win a lot of games. I'm very, very appreciative of him and I wish him well in Denver."
Via Doug Collins' comments on trade of Iguodala for Bynum by Kurt Helin on Pro Basketball Talk
"We are very excited to welcome Andrew Bynum, one of the league's best, young centers, and Jason Richardson, a proven, respected veteran, to the Philadelphia 76ers," said Managing Owner Josh Harris via press release. "As we stated from the outset, our ownership group is committed to exploring every option available to us in order to improve our team. This trade is the culmination of a very active off-season, one that we believe positions the Sixers for success this season and for many years to come."
The Sixers will be a more talented, younger, better put together team than last year's version, and they did it by adding young players and players on short, low-risk deals. This was a good off-season. If you're grading at home, it'd be hard not to give it an A.
Looks like that Kwame Brown/Spencer Hawes frontcourt will have to wait. Remember, as I've said before, it does not matter what they Sixers say they will do, it matters what they do.
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