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Dwight Howard goes from Magic to Lakers in four-team, 12-player trade

Center Dwight Howard, newly acquired by the Los

Center Dwight Howard, newly acquired by the Los Angeles Lakers from the Orlando Magic, speaks at a news conference at the Lakers' headquarters in El Segundo, Calif. (Aug. 10, 2012) Credit: AP

The Dwight Howard trade saga finally is over, and it has a Hollywood ending.

The NBA officially approved a blockbuster deal Friday that sends the All-Star center from Orlando to Los Angeles to pursue a championship with Kobe Bryant and the Lakers.

"I think it's time for a change in my life," Howard said at his introductory news conference Friday afternoon in Los Angeles. "It's time for a fresh start for myself and for the Magic. I'm just looking forward to the challenge. Today is Laker day. What happened in the past is behind me now. I've grown a lot in these four months. But I'm looking forward to starting here, to starting fresh today."

The complex four-team, 12-player deal also sends All-Star center Andrew Bynum from the Lakers to the 76ers and forward Andre Iguodala, who currently is playing in the Olympics, from the 76ers to the Nuggets.

Orlando gets guard Aaron Afflalo and forward Al Harrington from Denver, former St. John's star Moe Harkless and center Nikola Vucevic from the 76ers, and forward Josh McRoberts and guard/forward Christian Eyenga from the Lakers.

The Magic also receives five draft picks over five years, including a first-round pick from either the Nuggets or Knicks in 2014, a conditional first-round pick from the 76ers in 2015 and a conditional first-round pick from the Lakers in 2017.

The deal also has the Lakers acquiring guard Chris Duhon, a former Knick, and forward Earl Clark from the Magic. Guard Jason Richardson goes from the Magic to the 76ers.

The trade ends months of rumors involving Howard, who did not hide his desire to get out of Orlando.

"Clearly, there's a lot of raw emotion that comes with a trade of this magnitude," Magic general manager Rob Hennigan said. "Any time you're trading one of the best players in the league, that's a hard pill to swallow, especially when we live in a world of instant and immediate gratification. But what we're trying to build here in a lot of ways is the antithesis of that. It was time for this organization to move forward.

"Are we taking a step back? Absolutely, we are. But we're taking a step back with a vision."

Howard, who will turn 27 in December, is a six-time All-Star and three-time defensive player of the year. He averaged 20.6 points and 14.5 rebounds in 54 games for the Magic last season and has averaged 18.4 points and 13.0 rebounds in his eight-season career.

Howard, in Los Angeles rehabbing after back surgery, said his health is improving. As for whether he plans to sign an extension with the Lakers -- he is entering the final year of his contract -- he deflected questions about his future.

"Right now, it's about today, and today is the day I'm here with the Lakers, and that's the only thing that matters," he said. "Whatever happens a year from now, we'll wait for that time, but right now, it's all about the Lakers and me starting fresh."

Bynum, 24, an All-Star last season, also is entering the final year of his contract. He will be part of a young and talented core for the 76ers this season with point guard Jrue Holiday and shooting guard Evan Turner.

Howard's preferred destination earlier in the summer was Brooklyn. The Nets and Magic were engaged in trade talks for weeks but ultimately couldn't agree on a deal. After growing weary of the pursuit of Howard and dropping out of the chase, the Nets quickly re-signed center Brook Lopez and power forward Kris Humphries.

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