This entire post is based around a series of tweets by ESPN’s Marc Stein and his “sources”, so take this with a grain of salt.
It looks like the Sixers have finally found their star player and their big man in the same player. Andrew Bynum is reportedly coming to Philadelphia as part of a 4-team trade with the Nuggets, Magic, and Lakers that sends Dwight Howard to Los Angeles. There has been a conference call scheduled with the league for tomorrow morning to make the trade official. Here’s what we know about the Sixers’ side of the trade right now: the Sixers would be getting Lakers C Andrew Bynum and Magic SG Jason Richardson. In return, they would send Andre Iguodala to the Denver Nuggets and C Nikola Vucevic (their 2011 1st rounder), F Moe Harkless (their 2012 1st rounder), and a future first round pick to the Orlando Magic. The Sixers would likely roll out a starting lineup of Jrue Holiday-Richardson-Dorrell Wright-Spencer Hawes-Bynum with a bench unit of Evan Turner-Nick Young-Lavoy Allen-Arnett Moultrie-Kwame Brown. That’s a really solid team. The Magic would be receiving a bevy of players and picks from the other teams involved: F Al Harrington and G Arron Afflalo from Denver, a 1st rounder from the Nuggets, and another 1st rounder from the Lakers. There will probably be other players added to the deal to make the salaries work, but the Lakers will be getting Dwight Howard and keeping Pau Gasol. They will likely be able to trot out a lineup of Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol, and Dwight Howard next season. That is very good. They will be playing the Miami Heat in June.
The Nuggets are getting Andre Iguodala and clearing some salary and clutter from their wings. They are a very deep team, and they obviously view Iguodala (whose stock has risen dramatically as he is a member of Team USA in the Olympics this summer) as enough of an upgrade to sacrifice that depth. The Nuggets’ presumed lineup would be Ty Lawson-Iguodala-Danilo Gallinari-Kenneth Faried-JaVale McGee. That’s a very, very intriguing lineup. As for the Magic? I personally think they’re getting fleeced in this trade. They’re giving up a top-5 player in the league and getting a decent player (Harrington), a good player (Afflalo), and two unproven players (Harkless and Vucevic, although Harkless has infinitely more upside), along with some late 1st round picks. With the salary they take back in Afflalo and Harrington, I’m not sure they got the best deal they could have. I think the Houston Rockets could have offered a similar (if not better) package of young players to the Magic and they also have the cap flexibility to absorb some of the Magic’s bad contracts. But I’m not running an NBA team, so maybe they know more than I do. Either way, the Sixers have finally shaken off the stigma of having “no star” that has accompanied them since they traded Allen Iverson in 2006. And as the Phillies struggle through a nightmarish season, as the Eagles’ first unit plays poorly in their first preseason game, and the Flyers’ blueline is besieged by injuries and potential saviors slip through Paul Holmgren’s grasp, that’s something to be excited about.