Home Unfiltered Articles Players Baseball Prospectus
Basketball Prospectus home
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

Click here for Important Basketball Prospectus Premium Information!

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Howard Trade (08/10)
<< Previous Column
Transaction Analysis (07/02)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Transaction Analysis (10/29)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Big Fours (08/13)

August 10, 2012
Transaction Analysis
Possible Howard Trade

by Kevin Pelton

Printer-
friendly
Contact
Author

At last, the Dwight Howard saga appears at an end. Over the course of Thursday, a four-team trade sending Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers reportedly moved toward completion. With the teams apparently completing their trade call with the league Friday morning, let's value what each team would bring in and send out with the help of SCHOENE's multi-year WARP projections.

Denver Nuggets

Reportedly agreed to acquire guard Andre Iguodala from the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for guard Arron Afflalo, forward Al Harrington and a 2014 first-round pick as part of a four-team trade. [8/10]

DENVER IN                 WARP                SALARY
                   ------------------   ------------------
Player             1213   1314   1415   1213   1314   1415
----------------------------------------------------------
Andre Iguodala      7.5    5.9          14.7   15.9       

DENVER OUT                WARP                SALARY
                   ------------------   ------------------
Player             1213   1314   1415   1213   1314   1415
----------------------------------------------------------
Arron Afflalo       2.5    1.3    1.3    7.8    7.8    7.8
Al Harrington       2.8    1.8           6.7    7.2    3.8
----------------------------------------------------------
Total               5.3    3.1    1.3   14.4   15.0   11.6
Denver net          2.2    2.8   -1.3    0.3    1.0  -11.6

Change             +2.1   +2.4   +3.3

For the Nuggets, this trade looks like a no-brainer. They upgrade significantly at shooting guard while shedding the back end of Al Harrington's contract. (For these purposes, I'm assuming that Denver would waive Harrington in the summer of 2014, saving half of his 2014-15 salary.) The last row of figures in the table shows the projected change to each team's bottom line by season based on both the difference in projected WARP and in salary commitments, where each win is valued at $2.5 million. With this trade, the Nuggets have apparently added nearly eight wins over the next three seasons.

The one caveat here is a big one--Iguodala won't handle the ball as much for Denver as he did in Philadelphia because he'll play with Ty Lawson and Andre Miller. Iguodala is a major downgrade from Arron Afflalo in terms of outside shooting. Still, his impact at the defensive end and ability in the open court as part of the Nuggets' transition offense should outweigh such concerns. Even if Iguodala somehow doesn't work out, Denver has saved $11.6 million in guaranteed salary for the 2014-15 season. Note that we generally do not project seasons where players are not under contract--like Iguodala's 2014-15--under the assumption that they will be valued fairly in free agency should they re-sign. We'll discuss the exceptions to that rule shortly.

L.A. Lakers

Reportedly agreed to acquire guard Chris Duhon, forward Earl Clark and center Dwight Howard from the Orlando Magic in exchange for forwards Christian Eyenga and Josh McRoberts, center Andrew Bynum and a 2017 first-round pick as part of a four-team trade. [8/10]

L.A. LAKERS IN            WARP                SALARY
                   ------------------   ------------------
Player             1213   1314   1415   1213   1314   1415
----------------------------------------------------------
Dwight Howard      17.6                 19.5              
Earl Clark          0.0                  1.2              
Chris Duhon         1.4                  3.3    1.5 
----------------------------------------------------------
Total              18.9                 24.0    1.5       

L.A. LAKERS OUT           WARP                SALARY
                   ------------------   ------------------
Player             1213   1314   1415   1213   1314   1415
----------------------------------------------------------
Andrew Bynum*      10.9    9.6    9.1   16.1   16.9   18.2
Christian Eyenga    0.7                  1.2              
Josh McRoberts      1.3                  3.1              
----------------------------------------------------------
Total              12.9    9.6    9.1   20.4   16.9   18.2
L.A. Lakers net     6.0   -9.6   -9.1    3.6  -15.4  -18.2

Change             +4.6   -3.5   -1.8

There are two different scenarios for the Lakers depending on whether they are able to re-sign Howard. Here's the first, worst-case scenario, in which Howard walks and the Lakers would have been able to re-sign Andrew Bynum had they not traded him. The Lakers add a projected 4.6 wins, which seems like a reasonable guess. While the difference in salary between Bynum and Howard matters only to the Lakers' bottom line, the difference in their projections is probably slightly overstated given Howard's back surgery.

This analysis suggests that, even if Howard walks, this was a decent trade for the Lakers. If they were able to sign-and-trade Howard to his new team, they would create a massive trade exception that could be used to add other players. They'd be unable to replace all of Bynum's production, but on paper the loss would be smaller than what the Lakers gain with Howard this season.

Of course, the Lakers are hoping they can convince Howard to stay with a new contract next summer, creating the following scenario:

L.A. LAKERS IN            WARP                SALARY
                   ------------------   ------------------
Player             1213   1314   1415   1213   1314   1415
----------------------------------------------------------
Dwight Howard*     17.6   17.1   15.2   19.5   20.5   22.0
Earl Clark          0.0                  1.2              
Chris Duhon         1.4                  3.3    1.5 
----------------------------------------------------------
Total              18.9   17.1   15.2   24.0   22.0   22.0

L.A. LAKERS OUT           WARP                SALARY
                   ------------------   ------------------
Player             1213   1314   1415   1213   1314   1415
----------------------------------------------------------
Andrew Bynum*      10.9    9.6    9.1   16.1   16.9   18.2
Christian Eyenga    0.7                  1.2              
Josh McRoberts      1.3                  3.1              
----------------------------------------------------------
Total              12.9    9.6    9.1   20.4   16.9   18.2
L.A. Lakers net     6.0    7.5    6.1    3.6    5.1    3.8

Change             +4.6   +5.5   +4.6

This reflects how most everyone sees the trade: an enormous win for the Lakers, worth about five wins each of the next three seasons. The Lakers had to give up a very good center to get Howard, and they'll have to pay a lot of money to keep him. Still, Howard's projection ranks second behind LeBron James over the next three seasons. Health permitting, there are few more certain sources of production than Howard and he will be an enormous addition for the Lakers.

Orlando Magic

Reportedly agreed to acquire guard Arron Afflalo, forward Al Harrington and a 2014 first-round pick from the Denver Nuggets, forwards Christian Eyenga and Josh McRoberts and a 2017 first-round pick from the L.A. Lakers forward Moe Harkless, center Nikola Vucevic and a 2015 first-round pick from the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for guards Chris Duhon and Jason Richardson, forward Earl Clark and center Dwight Howard as part of a four-team trade. [8/10]

ORLANDO IN                WARP                SALARY
                   ------------------   ------------------
Player             1213   1314   1415   1213   1314   1415
----------------------------------------------------------
Arron Afflalo       2.5    1.3    1.3    7.8    7.8    7.8
Christian Eyenga    0.7                  1.2              
Moe Harkless        0.9    1.3    2.5    1.7    1.8    1.9
Al Harrington       2.8                  6.7    3.6    3.8
Josh McRoberts      1.3                  3.1              
Nikola Vucevic      2.8    3.7    3.8    1.7    1.8    2.8
----------------------------------------------------------
Total              10.9    6.3    7.6   22.2   14.9   16.2

ORLANDO OUT               WARP                SALARY
                   ------------------   ------------------
Player             1213   1314   1415   1213   1314   1415
----------------------------------------------------------
Earl Clark          0.0                  1.2              
Chris Duhon         1.4                  3.3    1.5       
Dwight Howard      17.6                 19.5              
Jason Richardson    2.7    1.9    1.1    5.8    6.2    6.6
----------------------------------------------------------
Total              21.6    1.9    1.1   29.8    7.7    6.6
Orlando net       -10.6    4.4    6.5   -7.6    7.2    9.6

Change             -7.6   +1.5   +2.7

The Magic added six players and five draft picks with this trade. Is it enough? Probably not, given Howard's value. Amazingly, Orlando actually gained payroll for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 season by bringing in Afflalo's big deal and the last two years of Harrington's contract. (I'm assuming the Magic will waive Harrington next summer, paying half of his salary.) I have a hard time understanding why the Magic would have to take on a bad deal in a trade that was supposed to clear their cap.

In part, your view of Afflalo is key to analyzing this deal. These projections consider him wildly overpaid, and I'm generally inclined to agree. There is little evidence that Afflalo is actually an elite defender, or even anything better than average. Afflalo's efficient scoring is also less valuable for a team like Orlando without stars to create open shots for him. Afflalo is a curious fit for a rebuilding team.

The Magic is better positioned for the future today than they were with Howard. Losing eight wins next season is actually a positive, given it will translate into a better draft pick, and Orlando got two useful young pieces in Moe Harkless and Nikola Vucevic, both of whom could start by 2014-15. And we haven't valued the draft picks because only one of them (the lesser of the Denver/New York picks in 2014) fits into the three-year window for WARP projections. Because of lottery projections and the time value of picks, these selections are not exceptionally valuable, but they will help.

Nonetheless, the overwhelming sense is "this is it?" The market for a deal like the Utah Jazz got for Deron Williams or the Nuggets got for Carmelo Anthony was never there for Howard. Still, I think the Magic could have gotten similar or better picks and prospects from the Houston Rockets without taking on nearly as much future salary. We may look back on this as a missed opportunity for Orlando to kickstart its rebuilding for a post-Howard era.

Philadelphia 76ers

Reportedly agreed to acquire center Andrew Bynum from the L.A. Lakers and guard Jason Richardson from the Orlando Magic in exchange for forwards Moe Harkless and Andre Iguodala, center Nikola Vucevic and a 2015 first-round pick as part of a four-team trade. [8/10]

PHILADELPHIA IN           WARP                SALARY
                   ------------------   ------------------
Player             1213   1314   1415   1213   1314   1415
----------------------------------------------------------
Andrew Bynum       10.9                 16.1              
Jason Richardson    2.7    1.9    1.1    5.8    6.2    6.6
----------------------------------------------------------
Total              13.6    1.9    1.1   21.9    6.2    6.6

PHILADELPHIA OUT          WARP                SALARY
                   ------------------   ------------------
Player             1213   1314   1415   1213   1314   1415
----------------------------------------------------------
Andre Iguodala      7.5    5.9          14.7   15.9       
Moe Harkless        0.9    1.3    2.5    1.7    1.8    1.9
Nikola Vucevic      2.8    3.7    3.8    1.7    1.8    2.8
----------------------------------------------------------
Total              11.2   10.9    6.3   18.1   19.5    4.7
Philadelphia net    2.4   -9.0   -5.2    3.8  -13.3    1.9

Change             +0.9   -3.7   -6.0

Again, there are two scenarios for the Sixers. The first one, above, shows Bynum leaving in free agency. Below shows Bynum with a new max contract:

PHILADELPHIA IN           WARP                SALARY
                   ------------------   ------------------
Player             1213   1314   1415   1213   1314   1415
----------------------------------------------------------
Andrew Bynum*      10.9    9.6    9.1   16.1   16.9   18.2
Jason Richardson    2.7    1.9    1.1    5.8    6.2    6.6
----------------------------------------------------------
Total              13.6   11.5   10.2   21.9   23.1   24.8

PHILADELPHIA OUT          WARP                SALARY
                   ------------------   ------------------
Player             1213   1314   1415   1213   1314   1415
----------------------------------------------------------
Andre Iguodala      7.5    5.9          14.7   15.9       
Moe Harkless        0.9    1.3    2.5    1.7    1.8    1.9
Nikola Vucevic      2.8    3.7    3.8    1.7    1.8    2.8
----------------------------------------------------------
Total              11.2   10.9    6.3   18.1   19.5    4.7
Philadelphia net    2.4    0.6    3.9    3.8    3.6   20.1

Change             +0.9   -0.9   -4.2

Unlike the Lakers, who make out decently either way, Philadelphia has to re-sign Bynum to make this trade work at all. Even in that scenario, they still come out as net losers long-term because they figure to miss Harkless and Vucevic by the end of their rookie contracts. Iguodala for Bynum is a clear win because of need and the scarcity of elite big men. To make that upgrade, though, the Sixers gave up a lot--the prospects the picks and taking on Jason Richardson's contract, which could get ugly by 2014-15. For a team that had no clear path to contending in the Eastern Conference, that might just be worth it. But this deal is very risky for Philadelphia.

This free article is an example of the kind of content available to Basketball Prospectus Premium subscribers. See our Premium page for more details and to subscribe.

Kevin Pelton is an author of Basketball Prospectus. You can contact Kevin by clicking here or click here to see Kevin's other articles.

0 comments have been left for this article.

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Howard Trade (08/10)
<< Previous Column
Transaction Analysis (07/02)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Transaction Analysis (10/29)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Big Fours (08/13)

RECENTLY AT BASKETBALL PROSPECTUS
State of Basketball Prospectus: A Brief Anno...
Tuesday Truths: March-at-Last Edition
Easy Bubble Solver: The Triumphant Return
Premium Article Bubbles of their Own Making: Villanova, Temp...
Tuesday Truths: Crunch Time Edition

MORE FROM AUGUST 10, 2012
Premium Article Howard Trade: How Elite Are the Lakers?
Premium Article Rising Teams: Timberwolves and Hornets
Premium Article Trade Market: Rating this Summer's Trades

MORE BY KEVIN PELTON
2012-10-24 - Premium Article Ibaka for Three: Serge's New Element
2012-10-22 - Valuing the Preseason: A Bayesian Approach
2012-10-19 - SCHOENE FAQ: Our Projections Explained
2012-08-10 - Transaction Analysis: Possible Howard Trade
2012-08-09 - Olympic Ratings: Quarterfinals
2012-08-07 - Olympic Ratings: Group Play
2012-07-26 - Olympic Preview: Rating 2012 Performance
More...

MORE TRANSACTION ANALYSIS
2012-11-05 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Rookie Options
2012-11-02 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Evaluating Extensions
2012-10-29 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Harden to Houston
2012-08-10 - Transaction Analysis: Possible Howard Trade
2012-07-02 - Transaction Analysis: Atlanta's Afternoon Re...
2012-06-20 - Transaction Analysis: Hornets-Wizards
2012-03-20 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Buyout Season
More...

Basketball Prospectus Home  |  Terms of Service  |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact Us
Copyright © 1996-2014 Prospectus Entertainment Ventures, LLC.