FREE AGENT FRENZY:<br />
It's 'Showtime' as Dwight Howard Heads to Lakers

Dwight Howard is coming to the Los Angeles Lakers.

In a four-team deal, the Los Angeles Lakers have acquired Dwight Howard from the Orlando Magic. The deal will result in Howard, Chris Duhon and Earl Clark going to Los Angeles, Andrew Bynum heading to Philadelphia, Andre Igoudala will join the Denver Nuggets, while Orlando will receive Aaron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Nikolva Vucevic and the 76ers 2012 1st round draft pick Moe Harkless. The Magic will also receive three protected 1st round draft picks (one from each team) and one 2nd round pick from Los Angeles.

This deal would appear to be a win for everyone, except Orlando. With the Brooklyn Nets, Houston Rockets, and Atlanta Hawks each in pursuit of Howard, the Magic were offered much better player packages than they received. In the end, it seems like the entire franchise wanted to close the chapter on Dwight Howard. In a full-on rebuilding mode, Orlando will surely have a lottery pick on its own, as the current roster of talent will rival the Charlotte Bobcats for worst in the NBA next season. Harkless will be a nice building block for the Magic, but the team would have arguably been in a better competitive situation with the final offer from the Nets. The proposed deal would have sent Brook Lopez, Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks and four unprotected 1st round picks to Orlando for Howard, Jason Richardson, Duhon and Clark. The Magic would have remained (somewhat) competitive and had a very bright future ahead of them, instead of being a team that will be NBA lottery bound for the next few seasons.

Meanwhile, the Lakers may have practically secured themselves a spot in the 2013 NBA Finals. In addition to the acquisition of Dwight Howard, Hollywood will also be welcoming Steve Nash and Antawn Jamison to the roster that still includes Pau Gasol, Metta World Peace and Kobe Bryant. Nash was sent to L.A. as part of a sign-and-trade deal that involved 1st round picks in 2013 & 2015 along with 2013 & 2014 2nd round picks, going to Phoenix

Although Los Angeles made the greatest splash of 2012’s offseason, several other teams have re-loaded for a championship run in 2013.  Here are a few of the notable offseason moves during this year’s Free Agency period:

Miami HeatSigned Ray Allen (guard) and Rashard Lewis (forward).

New York Knicks – Signed Jason Kidd (guard) and Ronnie Brewer (guard); acquired Marcus Camby (center) via sign-and-trade for Toney Douglas (guard), Josh Harrelson (center), Jerome Jordan (center) and two unspecified 2nd round picks. Raymond Felton (guard) and Kurt Thomas (center) were also acquired via trades that sent  Dan Gadzuric (center), Jared Jeffries (forward) and draft picks to Portland. J.R. Smith (guard) was also re-signed.

Although Los Angeles made the greatest splash of 2012’s offseason, several other teams have re-loaded for a championship run in 2013.

Brooklyn NetsRe-signed Deron Williams (guard), Brook Lopez (center), Kris Humphries (forward) and Gerald Wallace (forward); acquired G Joe Johnson in a trade that sent Anthony Morrow (guard), Jordan Farmar (guard), DeShawn Stevenson (forward), Johan Petro (forward), Jordan Williams (forward) and 2nd round pick to Atlanta. Reggie Evans (forward) was also traded to Brooklyn for the right to swap 2nd round draft picks with the Clippers. Jerry Stackhouse (guard) and C.J. Watson (guard) were also signed.

Los Angeles Clippers – Signed Jamal Crawford (guard), Grant Hill (forward), Ronny Turiaf (forward/center), Ryan Hollis (forward/center); acquired Lamar Odom (forward) via 4-team trade involving draft picks; sent Mo Williams (guard) to Utah. Willie Green (guard) was also acquired in a sign-and-trade deal with Atlanta.

Boston Celtics – Re-signed Kevin Garnett (forward/center) and Brandon Bass (forward); signed Jason Terry (guard), Dionte Christmas (guard), Jason Collins (forward/center), Chris Wilcox (forward/center); acquired Courtney Lee (guard) in a sign-and-trade deal with Houston.

Dallas Mavericks – Signed O.J. Mayo (guard), Elton Brand (forward) and Chris Kaman (center); re-signed Delonte West (guard). Dahntay Jones (guard) and Darren Collison (guard) were acquired in a trade for Ian Mahinmi (center).

Minnesota Timberwolves – Signed Brandon Roy (guard/forward) and Andrei Kirelinko (forward); traded Wayne Ellington (guard) for Dante Cunningham (forward) in a deal with Memphis. The T-Wolves also acquired Chase Budinger (guard/forward) in a deal with Houston, for 2012 18th overall pick Terrance Jones (forward).

Other Notable Moves – Ben Gordon (guard, Detroit) was traded to Charlotte for Corey Magette (guard/forward). The Washington Wizards acquired Trevor Ariza (guard/forward) and Emeka Okafor (forward/center) in a deal with New Orleans for Rashard Lewis (forward, who was later released and was then picked up by the Heat). The Raptors landed Kyle Lowry (guard) in a deal with Houston and signed Landry Fields (guard/forward). Houston signed Jeremy Lin (guard).

2013 Outlook – The Heat  and the Lakers look destined for a 2013 Finals match-up, while the Nets, Sixers, Clippers & Knicks will each improve substantially.

Steve Rivers has contributed to The Source, ESPN Rise and a host of other online publications. Follow him on Twitter: @TheKidSkoob.