The most dominant big man in the NBA got his wish. Dwight Howard is out of Orlando.
The All-Star center was traded Friday to the Los Angeles Lakers, the last act of his long, drawn-out departure from the Magic. It took four teams, 12 players, five draft picks and countless rounds of talks with different clubs to get done, but it finally was completed Friday after the NBA reviewed and approved the deal.
So after an offseason where the Magic fired coach Stan Van Gundy and general manager Otis Smith, now they’re truly beginning anew. Howard is gone as well, the second time the franchise has lost a big-man star to the Lakers.
In 1996, the Magic watched Shaquille O’Neal sign as a free agent with the Lakers. At least this time, when they lost someone with the ”Superman” nickname, they got something back.
”Well, it looks like Superman has found a home,” Lakers guard Kobe Bryant wrote on his Facebook page.
The Lakers manage to some how pulled off the deal and kept Pau Gasol in the process – something many didn’t expect when the Los Angeles first started getting mentioned in the Howard trade mix.
The trade was announced during the Spain-Russia semifinal matchup at the Olympics. Gasol scored 16 points, helping the Spanish team reach the gold medal game with a 67-59 win.
Afterward, that seemed secondary. He was still with the Lakers, and now has the game’s most dominant big man alongside him. For a moment, gold-medal talk was pushed aside for NBA title chatter.
”I think it’s something that puts us in a position of being an extremely powerful team and a team with all the chances of going for the ring again,” Gasol said.