Dwight Howard is coming to Lakers
The Lakers reached an agreement late Thursday to acquire Orlando Magic All-Star center Dwight Howard in a four-team, eight-player, multi-draft-pick blockbuster deal in which Andrew Bynum lands with the Philadelphia 76ers, The Times confirmed with several NBA executives who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.
Pau Gasol, however, won’t be a part of the deal, according to the executives, and will remain with the Lakers.
The complex deal calls for the Denver Nuggets to send forward Al Harrington and guard Arron Afflalo to the Magic, according to the executives. The 76ers will send small forward Andre Iguodala to the Nuggets, with former USC center Nikola Vucevic and first-round draft pick Mo Harkless going from Philadelphia to the Magic. Orlando will send guard Jason Richardson to the 76ers.
The Lakers, 76ers and Nuggets will all send the Magic protected first-round draft picks, the executives said.
Because the Lakers sent the Phoenix Suns first-round draft picks for 2013 and 2015 to acquire Steve Nash this summer, L.A. can’t send the Magic its first-round pick until 2017; NBA rules prohibit teams from giving up first-round draft picks in consecutive years.
Before the deal can be completed, the NBA has scheduled a conference call Friday with all four general managers from the teams involved, including Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak.
The NBA must then approve the deal for it to go through.
The Lakers wouldn’t comment officially, but Kupchak was in the office most of Thursday working.
Trade rumors have swirled around Howard for a month, and with so many moving parts, players and contracts, it had been a complicated deal to get consummated.
Howard, 26, had back surgery in April to repair a herniated disk, ending his season with the Magic. But he’s still considered the best center in the NBA.
The 6-11, 265-pound Howard has averages of 18.4 points, 13 rebounds and 2.2 blocked shots over his eight-year career.
He has been an All-Star six times and had been named the NBA’s defensive player of the year for three consecutive years until his injury.
Howard and his representatives had let it be known that he didn’t plan on signing a contract extension with any team that acquired him, but apparently that was something the Lakers didn’t worry about before agreeing to the deal.
It actually makes financial sense for Howard to wait until after the 2012-13 season, when he can sign a five-year, $117.9-million contract with the Lakers.
If Howard decided to become a free agent and sign with another team (or do a sign-and-trade with the Lakers), he would get a max deal of four years for $87.591 million.
Howard will make $19.4 million for the 2012-13 season.
Once the league approves the deal, all the players have to pass their physicals.
Bynum, 24, is considered the second-best center in the NBA, behind Howard, and made his first All-Star team last season.
The 7-0, 285-pound Bynum played in 60 of the 66 games in the lockout-shortened NBA season, averaging 18.7 points, 11.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocked shots.
Bynum was drafted out of high school by the Lakers in 2005. He has played a full season only once during his six-year career, in 2006-07.
He missed 46 games during the 2007-08 season because of a left knee injury, 32 games in 2008-09 because of a right knee injury and 24 games to start the 2010-11 season after having knee surgery in the off-season.
Howard, who came out of high school to the NBA in 2004, will join a long list of great centers to play for the Lakers — George Mikan, Wilt Chamberlain,Kareem Abdul-Jabbar andShaquille O’Neal, who signed with the Lakers as a free agent after departing Orlando.
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