The “Dwightmare” finally came to an end this past August with the Los Angeles Lakers acquiring Dwight Howard in a four-team blockbuster trade with the Denver Nuggets, Philadelphia 76ers and Orlando Magic.
The Lakers were able to send Andrew Bynum to Philadelphia and receive arguably the best all-around center in the game in return. The deal has proven to be an absolute steal for Lakers with Howard starting to come into his own in Los Angeles.
Coming into Sunday’s matchup with the Magic, Howard will face his former team for the first time since the trade went down in the summer. The three-time Defensive Player of the Year reflected on the trade and playing against Orlando after Saturday’s practice admitting that the trade could’ve been handled better via Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com:
“I’ve had a chance to sit back and think about it and there are some things I could’ve done better. There are some things that could’ve been done better on both sides,” Howard said in a lengthy, wide-ranging interview after Los Angeles Lakers practice on Saturday. “But at the end of the day, we all learn some lessons and we’ve got to move forward.
“I’m happy here, I’m having a lot of fun. This is a place that I’ve always prayed that I could be a part of something very special. So I want to take advantage of it.”
There’s no question that the situation between Howard and the Magic franchise got ugly over the last year or so. Howard wanted out and Orlando found it difficult to find the right deal for their franchise player, but ultimately Howard seems to have ended up in an ideal situation in Los Angeles with a potentially bright future ahead.
Howard will head into the matchup with the Magic on Sunday coming off his best performance yet for the Lakers. The Lakers newest superstar addition scored 28 points and ripped down 20 rebounds in the win over the Nuggets on Friday at Staples Center.
So far this season, Howard is averaging 18.6 points, 11.1 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per contest after 16 games with the Lakers. Howard is only shooting a career-low 47 percent from the free-throw line, but hasn’t missed a beat with new team despite coming off back surgery.
It’ll be interesting to see if there’s any bad blood between Howard and his former teammates with the “Dwightmare” behind them. The Lakers will take on the Magic at the Staples Center on Sunday night at 6:30 p.m. PT.