Aug 10 2012 1:37PM

How the Trade Affects Every Team

It is obvious the Orlando Magic want to free fall from playoff status to the bottom of the standings, based on the role players the team acquired in dealing All-NBA center Dwight Howard along with starting shooting guard Jason Richardson.

That is, after all, how some teams believe they can improve the most--simply get better draft position by a lower finish in the standings.

Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Nikola Vucevic and Moe Harkless are all quality NBA role players, but nobody would predict future All-Star status for any of the newest four Magic men.

However, the draft picks acquired by the Magic from the other teams involved in this deal--Lakers, Nuggets, 76ers--add a bit more to the mix.

If the HOOPmag Offseason Power Rankings are to be trusted, the Orlando Magic will acquire the following guesstimated picks in future NBA Drafts, due to this Howard trade: their own No. 3 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft (based on a 28th-place finish as predicted by HOOPmag); the Sixers' protected No. 9-or-so pick in the 2015 NBA Draft; the Nuggets' No. 20 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft; the Lakers very late first-round pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.

Translation: the only potential All-Star-caliber player that goes to Orlando in this Howard deal is the Magic's own pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. And the only way that happens is if they have one of the worst records in basketball this season.

After this trade, well, Orlando is well on its way, dropping from the 13th-best NBA team (as determined by regular-season and playoff wins combined in 2011-12) to 28th (as determined by the HOOPmag power rankings).

Orlando Magic new GM Rob Hennigan--who first worked with the San Antonio Spurs front office before cohort Sam Presti brought him along to Oklahoma City when he got the OKC GM job--just hit the reset button for this franchise. He now will try to duplicate what his mentor did with the Thunder franchise circa 2007, back when the team that was known as the Seattle Sonics selected Kevin Durant with the second pick in the draft.

We won't know how this works for Hennigan and Company until 2015, at the earliest.

If he is as good an evaluator of draft talent as Presti, then this has a chance to work.

You never know how many All-Stars you can land when you have one of the top picks, year after year.

As for the Lakers, Nuggets and 76ers, they all got better.

I mean, if you are the Lakers, wouldn't you rather have Dwight Howard than Andrew Bynum, even if it cost you $5.2 million more ($2.6 million in salary and another $2.6 million in luxury-tax penalties)?

If you are the Sixers, wouldn't you rather have a 24-year-old Andrew Bynum, Jason Richardson and spend $5 million more or go with Andre Iguodala, Nikola Vucevic and Moe Harkless?

If you are the Nuggets, wouldn't you rather have Iguodala and spend $0.6 million more or go with Arron Afflalo and Al Harrington?

Each one of these teams had to throw in the aforementioned protected first-round picks, but the imports are much greater than the exports. So you don't mind giving up a piece of the future for improving your roster's long-term and current standing.

Until the NBA rules change--where bottom-finishing squads are rewarded with high draft picks--teams dropping out of playoff contention will continue to supply championship contenders with high-priced talent.

While some teams go for first now, others think they have to get worse to get on the road to first.

On Friday, the Magic officially got on that path.

Although, we should have already seen that coming four weeks ago when Hennigan was satisfied to sign-and-trade his second-best player, Ryan Anderson, for a quality role player, Gustavo Ayon.

In retrospect, that's when Orlando tipped its hand into how it was playing its future.