Originally posted on The Sports Headquarters  |  Last updated 8/31/13
Look! In the sky! It’s a Maverick! It’s a Hawk! It’s a….Rocket? Yes, the Dwightmare has been over for some time now, with center Dwight Howard signing with the Houston Rockets out of free agency. Luckily for D12, all he had to do was sign on the dotted line and his ordeal was over. Unfortunately for the Atlanta Hawks, Dallas Mavericks and even the Golden State Warriors, players shipped out and money brought in to land Howard did nothing more than create a player-less, money-filled void for GMs to fill. Then the real fun started. The following trades were all likely directly affected by Howard: Golden State traded guard Brandon Rush, forward Richard Jefferson, center Andris Biedrins, two first-round picks in 2014 and 2017, two second-round picks in 2016 and 2017 and cash to Utah and a 2018 second-round pick to Denver for guard Andre Iguodala from Denver and guard Kevin Murphy from Utah. Golden State waived guards Scott Machado and Kevin Murphy and center Dwayne Jones and signed center Jermaine O’Neal. Milwaukee traded guard Brandon Jennings to Detroit for guard Brandon Knight, forward Khris Middleton and center Viacheslav Kravtsov. Dallas signed guard Monta Ellis, center Andrew Dalembert and forward DeJuan Blair. Cleveland signed center Andrew Bynum and waived guards Chris Quinn and Kevin Jones. Houston signed guards Reggie Williams, Ronnie Brewer and Aaron Brooks and center Jordan Henriquez and re-signed guard Franciso Garcia. Orlando waived forward Al Harrington. Philadelphia traded guard Jrue Holiday and the draft rights to guard Pierre Jackson to New Orleans for the draft rights to forward Nerlens Noel and a 2014 first-round pick. Atlanta matched the offer sheet tendered to guard Jeff Teague by Milwaukee and also signed forward Elton Brand. There are a number of other transactions that are at least partially affected by Houston signing Howard and potentially more to come. With training camps set to open for all teams in a little over a month, GMs will figure out what to do with the rest of their “Dwight Money” and a league-wide shake-up will undoubtedly reveal a balance of power shift to and away from certain squads. The Detroit Pistons, for instance, in addition to getting Jennings from the Bucks, also signed former Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith. Those moves alone could propel the Pistons back into the playoff picture, possibly in the 6-8-seed range. The Hawks, however, may have lost too much, possibly even taking them out of the playoff discussion for the next few seasons. Don’t get me wrong, Paul Milsap is a nice piece but Smith is a game-changer and point guard Jeff Teague has one less target down low. Teague’s days as an ATL-ien might be numbered, though. With the Hawks’ selection of German point guard Dennis Schroeder, a new direction looks to be on the horizon. Yeah, that seems to be the case for most of the league right now. Golden State missed out on the Dwight sweepstakes but parlayed that into a few more good years out of Iguodala, while shedding the contracts of Andris Biedrins and Richard Jefferson. Cap space is the Warriors’ biggest concern right now because young players like Klay Thompson and Steph Curry are holding it down courtside. The Dallas Mavericks are the other team most heavily slighted by Howard’s decision but the cap space has given the Mavs the opportunity to bring in one-time starters DeJuan Blair, Samuel Dalembert and Jose Calderon as highly-touted role-players. With a team core of Dirk Nowitzki, Jae Crowder and Monta Ellis, Dallas is poised to make another title run right now. Dwight Howard may have one of the biggest maturity problems of any superstar in the NBA for all of the headaches he’s caused, he may have unintentionally spread talent across the league and ushered the Association into a new, better era.
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