How the Dwight Howard trade impacts the Denver Nuggets
There’s a reason why the headline of this blog has the name Dwight Howard in it and not Andre Iguodala’s.
In a trade that more or less wrapped up late Thursday night, NBA Superstar Dwight Howard was dealt to the Los Angeles Lakers in a four-team deal, involving the Denver Nuggets, Orlando Magic and Philadelphia 76ers. Howard wasn’t the only big name involved in the trade, but he by far was the biggest one, stealing the show. However, he wasn’t the only top-tier player switching teams. Once the dust settles, Lakers center Andrew Bynum will head to the 76ers; Philadelphia swingman Andre Iguodala will be playing in the Mile High City; and Al Harrington and Aaron Afflalo will suit up for the Magic, which also landed three first-round picks and a couple of no-namers in the block buster.
Now that the explanation is out of the way, I had to ask myself, ‘is this a good move for the Denver Nuggets?’ Well, let’s break down the impacts of the players and picks lost and the new addition by Denver:
• A two for a two: Fans may be excited for Iguodala, but they should also be saddened by the departure of Afflalo. I kind of see this move as a wash because of the numbers that Iggy put up last season. While Afflalo was reaching career highs last year, Iguodala was dipping toward career lows. His 12. 9 points per game were certainly uncharacteristic after the Arizona product was consistently scoring at least 17 points per game after his sophomore season in 2005-2006. While Iguodala digressed, Afflalo began to soar in the scoring column as he received more and more playing time. Last season, he finally made his way into Denver’s starting lineup, making the most of it with a 15.2 points per game clip. There is a big difference in the two shooting guards, though. Afflalo is a more one-dimensional player because really all he can do is score while Iguodala is a triple threat, averaging 6.1 rebounds per game and 5.5 assists last year. The scoring numbers alone, however, lead me to believe the Nugs gave up way too much for Iggy, sending a proven scorer, Harrington (another scoring machine) and a first-round pick.
• Dumping age: The Nuggets may have gotten involved in this trade to get rid of Al Harrington’s $6 million per year salary for the next four years. It makes sense, considering Big Al is 32 years old, but the cap space factor here is a wash, too, because Harrington’s and Afflalo’s salaries are very close to Iguodala’s $14 million per year payout. Iguodala only has two years left on his deal, though, while Harrington and Afflalo have four and five years left, respectively. I know that Harrington is getting old, but he certainly proved he can still get the job done offensively and on the bourds by averaging 14.2 points per game and 6.1 rebounds per game, coming off the bench. Again, it seems the Nuggets gave up to proven scorers for a guy who seems to be on the decline and I can never condone that sort of trading behavior.
• The future: I don’t mean to seem like a Debbie Downer in regards to this trade. For all I know, Iguodala could find a resurgence in the Mile High City and from the guidance of veteran coach Geroge Karl. One would have to believe playing with a rising-star point guard like Ty Lawson should only benefit the 28-year-old. Denver’s new lineup will also be bigger than most teams with Iguodala standing at 6-foot-6 beside Danillo Gallinari at 6-foot-10. The revamped team will also be able to give the promising sophomore Kenneth Faried even more playing time with Harrington out of the picture. I suppose in the end, I believe the Nuggets had a good thing going and perhaps dished out too much in return for a guy that couldn’t even lead the 76ers in scoring. I do hope that Iguodala can turn things around because Denver now has a lot invested into him. Afflalo may have a bright future. But the Nugs gave up a piece of their future by sending him and a first round pick packing — not to mention Superman is now in the West.