My first reactions stand upon further analysis. I think people are overvaluing the Howard acquisition by LA and ignoring the potential improvements by Philly and Denver here.
Here's where the teams are going
LA - Adds Dwight Howard. Throw-ins of Chris Duhon (backup point) and Earl Clark (NBDL)
- Loses Andrew Bynum, potentially a mid to late first round pick, and a backup throw-in player (Vujecic). Update: Also Josh McRoberts, a backup forward, and another throw-in player (Eyenga)
The advantage here for them is mainly that Howard is historically healthier (much, much healthier really) and a little better defensively in exchange for being not very great on offense versus Bynum who is really good in the low post and a better foul shooter. The problem is they still have two low post players (now Howard and Gasol) and need to get Kobe to stop hogging the ball so Nash can run the game (especially in crunch time). I'm not sure this will happen. So I'm not convinced they're now a title contender in the role of Oklahoma City or Miami or maybe even Boston or Chicago. They will be improved next year but not by that much. Main gain is that they didn't give up much to do this.
Philly - Adds Andrew Bynum, Jason Richardson
- Loses Andre Iguodala, Moe Harkess, mid to late first round pick.
Giving up Iggy is pretty steep, but they Harkess wasn't very good projected, and Richardson and Bynum give them the two things they were most in need of last year, a 3 point shooter who can run and a center (a very good one at that). Richardson isn't nearly as skilled a defender and ball-handler, but they now have a better offensive game to go to instead of relying solely on forcing turnovers. It also means more playing time for Evan Turner, new addition Dorell Wright, and playing Thad Young at a more natural position for him than power forward (if it means more playing time for Nick Young then they've got problems, and I'm still not sold on Jrue Holliday). I'm not sure they're much better either, but if they can keep Bynum, they should at least be contenders for a while with a young core. Maybe not title contenders, but at least Atlantic Division contenders. Boston can't play with their team forever and that's a lame division (Toronto sucks, Brooklyn and NY didn't get that much offseason wise. Brooklyn won't be terrible and will be a playoff team isn't the same as saying they're now a contender). Maybe not as a lame as Miami's division now that Atlanta and Orlando are dumping their players, but it's pretty ugly.
Denver - Adds Andre Iguodala
- Loses Aaron Afflalo, Al Harrington, mid-late first round pick.
These guys got a lot better. Afflalo is not a dynamic offense/defence player and Harrington is a high volume three point shooter in a power forward's body. Both were overpaid and neither fits well with how Denver likes to play. They could keep Iggy or let him go for cap room next year to pursue some other free agent. I like the move the best for them this next year, and definitely moving forward for the next couple years.
Orlando - Adds Afflalo, Harrington, Vucecic, 3 mid to late first round picks. Update: Also McRoberts and Eyenga.
- Loses Howard, Duhon, Richardson, Clark.
To boot they traded away a better 3 point shooting power forward who actually gets rebounds (Ryan Anderson) earlier in the summer instead of Harrington who they now have instead. I guess they got something for a superstar who was about to depart, but it's hard to believe this is all they could have gotten. Even Bynum straight up for a year would have been better. In relieving Richardson's mildly crazy contract, they took on Afflalo's insane one, didn't get any likely lottery or unprotected draft picks to improve moving forward, and thus virtually guaranteed they will be a non-factor in the NBA for about the next decade (the length of time it took for them to go from the Shaq-Penny era to getting Howard and surrounding him with shooters to upset the Cavs a few years ago in route to losing in the Finals). Way to go.
Score One for United Airlines
48 minutes ago