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So Dwight Howard's been traded, what's the impact on the Southeast?

Chris Duhon, left, is pictured here with teammate Dwight Howard. Howard was one of the small pieces moved in the four-team trade that sent Duhon to the Lakers.
Chris Duhon, left, is pictured here with teammate Dwight Howard. Howard was one of the small pieces moved in the four-team trade that sent Duhon to the Lakers.

So I just got back from Chicago today and BAM -- what incredibly big news in NBA trades. I can't believe Chris Duhon got traded! What a boon for the Lakers to get him. But more importantly for us, what's the impact of this huge deal involving Dwight Howard, et al? I mean, besides the crumbling sales of Ed Hardy shirts at Orlando area stores?

On the one side of things, I like this trade for a few teams. None of those teams are the Orlando Magic. Philadelphia got the low post force they needed, and as a bonus, Kwame Brown can finish teaching Andrew Bynum everything he knows! And they got a very expensive Jason Richardson, which is OK even though he is nowhere near the Jason Richardson we once saw. Denver gets some fantastic perimeter defense and rebounding in Andre Iguodala. Los Angeles gets Dwight Howard, who is Dwight Howard.

Meanwhile, Orlando got Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Nikola Vucevic, Maurice Harkless, Josh McRoberts, Christian Eyenga, and five future draft picks -- from each other team in the deal and a second round pick each from the Lakers and Denver.

Overall, this I feel this is an underwhelming trade for Magic fans. It's not bad as compared to letting him go in free agency with a return including a very promising wing in Afflalo, but the rest is rather unsavory. The draft picks include no lottery picks, unless you count those the Magic are now headed for with a mediocre roster. But that's not an added return. Al Harrington's 31 years old and due a lot of money in the next three years, even though they're only half-guaranteed for the final two seasons of his contract. Harkless is fine, too, but again it's nothing to really write home about when you bid farewell to a player as good as Dwight Howard. Regardless, they're now headed to the draft lottery with much less to show for it than they could have. Their starting five now includes Jameer Nelson, Afflalo, Hedo Turkoglu, Glen Davis and Gustavo Ayon. That's not awful. It's also not good, but it's just a bit below average in the Eastern Conference (take that for what you will). And their bench is full of solid role players and rookies deserving of playing time: J.J. Redick, Harkless, Quentin Richardson, Al Harrington, Andrew Nicholson, Vucevic, McRoberts.

So they have a very mediocre team, exactly where you don't want to get stuck in the NBA.

For the Southeast division, this marks the latest upheaval in roster movement. The Hawks snipped and swapped much of their team in deals that sent away Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams; the Wizards sent away JaVale McGee and Nick Young at the trade deadline; the Heat added Ray Allen.

For Miami, the Magic become another mere roadbump in the division, no longer a threat like they once were. For the rest of the division, which is now populated by the building and rebuilding, Orlando falls somewhere behind Washington with the Bobcats. I'm not sure if they're still better than Charlotte, but I think they have much better frontcourt depth though the Bobcats have a better backcourt. Regardless, they've fallen into the depths of the lottery with haste and at least it gives the Bobcats more competition at where they are.

After all, misery loves company.