In the end it was unavoidable, Dwight Howard wanted to end his stay in Orlando and the franchise was not about to let him go without getting a decent return on the NBA's best big man. That it took a four team deal involving the likes of the Lakers, Nuggets, and 76ers only goes to show how hard it was for Orlando to get a deal done. Now the biggest question that remains is, did Orlando make a good trade? Here then is a breakdown on what Orlando was able to get out of the deal.
Once Orlando jettisoned Dwight Howard, head coach Stan Van Gundy, and GM Otis Smith, getting rid of dead weight like Jason Richardson became a must. Richardson's outside shooting last season was spotty at best, while his salary and age did not fit in with the direction the franchise has taken. Add to that the fact that J. J. Redick is ready to step into a starting role and getting rid of Richardson became a no-brainer. As for Duhon, he was arguable the worst player on the team last season and getting rid of him and his salary will not hurt Orlando any. Only the defensive minded Clark put in his share of quality minutes last season and he will be missed. Rating A
Arron Afflalo (SG) from DenverA former first round draft pick out of UCLA, Affalo is a definite upgrade from Jason Richardson. Last season the 6-5 guard hit on over 39% of his 3-point tries and scored over 15 points a game. No doubt that Affalo will be a welcomed addition to Jacque Vaughn's new offense this season. What's the downside? Only one, he has a long term deal worth over $7 million per year. For that they might as well have kept Ryan Anderson. Rating A-
Al Harrington (F-C) from DenverYes he has a lot of miles on him having played in 937 regular season games but with both Howard and Ryan Anderson now gone, acquiring Harrington from Denver makes sense. Harrington is still capable of giving you at least 25-30 minutes a night while grabbing 5 or 6 rebounds and scoring 12-14 points along the way. In the end, he's not a bad stopgap for a franchise who is rebuilding. Rating B
Moe Harkless (G-F) 76ersYoung with a lot of upside, Harkless the 15th pick overall in the 2012 NBA draft, has tremendous wingspan and athleticism. However the 19 year old still has a way to go and he needs to develop his shooting to become a factor in the NBA. Will Orlando be patient enough to develop him? Probably not since Vaughn will be under pressure to at least put a competitive team on the floor this season. Rating B-
Christian Eyenga (F) LakersEyenga's skills are raw; he has good leaping ability but won't make much of an impact on offense. It will be interesting to see if he even sticks around this season. Between him and Harkless, Orlando is better off with Harkless. Rating C
Nikola Vucevic (F-C) 76ersDrafted 16th overall in 2011 out of USC, Vucevic will certainly help fill in the void created by Howard and Anderson. A decent rebounder when he is on the floor, Vucevic had five games in which he grabbed 10 or more rebounds during his rookie season. Rating B-
Josh McRoberts (F-C) LakersA better scoring version of Vucevic, It is doubtful that Orlando would have long term goals for the five year veteran out of Duke, but at this stage it's anybody's guess. One thing is for certain, Orlando won't keep both him and Vucevic, and most likely it will be McRoberts who will eventually go. Rating C+
Draft PicksAlong with the above players, Orlando will also get five draft picks over the next five years. How those picks turn out will in all likelihood determine not only the future of the franchise but also the value of this trade. Still, for a team going into a rebuilding phase, five additional draft picks is a huge deal. Rating A
About this writer: A resident of Orlando, FL, the writer has been a fan of the Orlando Magic since their inaugural season in the NBA. The writer lists Scott Skiles and Hedo Turkoglu among his all-time favorite Magic players.