Revisiting the assets acquired in the Dwight Howard blockbuster trade

The Dwight Howard deal was met with criticism from Orlando Magic fans at the time. But the trade still has significance in the foundation of this new Orlando team.
NBA Finals Game 5:  Los Angeles Lakers v Orlando Magic
NBA Finals Game 5: Los Angeles Lakers v Orlando Magic / Chris Graythen/GettyImages
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Revisiting the assets acquired in the Dwight Howard trade

The Draft Picks

The Orlando Magic were traded a plethora of draft picks in this deal. It was one of the central features of the haul the Magic got for their superstar center.

They received a 2014 first round pick from the Denver Nuggets, a 2017 first round pick from the Philadelphia 76ers, a protected 2017 first round pick from the Los Angeles Lakers, a 2013 second round pick from Denver and a 2015 second round pick from Los Angeles.

Romero Osby was the first Magic draft pick from the Dwight Howard trade. He was the 2013 second round selection from Denver after playing four years in college.

He never ended up playing for Orlando as he was waived before the start of his rookie season, but as the 51st overall selection Osby had an uphill battle to make the team.

The 2014 first round pick from Denver was the first major draft pick from the trade the team used.

The Magic selected Dario Saric with the 12th overall pick, but elected to move up two spots to select Elfrid Payton instead. Orlando also had to give Philadelphia its own 2017 first round pick back that they received in the Howard trade.

The team believed Payton was their future star point guard.

Every Magic fan knows how the Payton experiment went. He was quick and a solid ball handler, but never could contribute as a scorer on offense. Payton used his effort to rebound and play strong defense but never grew to his expected potential.

Elfrid Payton was a poor fit beside Victor Oladipo as both were developing as perimeter threats, but Payton did not amount to a starting point guard. He was eventually traded for a second round pick to the Phoenix Suns after three and a half seasons. He is currently playing in the G-League for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.

With their 2018 second round pick, the Magic selected Jarred Vanderbilt in the 2018 draft but immediately traded him to Denver. The Nuggets in turn gave Orlando the 43rd pick where they selected Justin Jackson. Orlando willingly traded two selections back for no additional compensation.

Vanderbilt ultimately became a solid player and was just paid $48 million over four years. Jackson never played a game for the Magic or in the NBA.

This draft night trade ultimately backfired on Orlando, specifically because that 2018 pick they gave back to the 76ers ended up being a solid role player in Landry Shamet.

Dario Saric ended up outperforming Elfrid Payton as well. He was the centerpiece of a trade that netted the Philadelphia 76ers Jimmy Butler. He has been a solid bench reserve piece in his nine seasons as a stretch shooter who can rebound. He's currently averaging 10.6 points per contest for the Warriors.

This was clearly not Rob Hennigan's best work. Payton became a flashpoint for the franchise too. Rob Hennigan was a big believer in Elfrid Payton and he clashed with coach Scott Skiles and several coaches over his future in the league.

The 2015 second round pick never conveyed from the Lakers and the 2017 first round pick was retained by Los Angeles as it was also protected.

Orlando then received second round picks from the Lakers instead of the first round pick former general manager Rob Hennigan had hoped for. The team selected Wes Iwundu with the first of the two second round picks with the 33rd selection in the 2017 draft.

Iwundu had a great build entering the NBA as a 6-foot-6 wing with a 7-foot wingspan. The former Kansas State Wildcat immediately played for the Magic, suiting up for 62 games and starting in 12 during his rookie year.

Iwundu went on to play three more seasons for Orlando and saw his minutes increase each year. He was able to stretch the floor and impact games as a three-and-d hybrid.

Eventually Orlando decided not to re-sign him in the 2020 offseason and he ended up joining the Dallas Mavericks. Iwundu exceeded expectations as a second round pick and played in all 10 playoff games during the Vucevic era.

He averaged 4.5 points per game in the playoffs and shot a blistering 57.1 percent from three against the Milwaukee Bucks in the bubble. Iwundu was a small part of the trade but was a contributor to a playoff team.

Orlando traded the other second round pick that the Lakers gave them in the Bismack Biyombo trade in 2018.

Biyombo was no longer needed on the Magic with Nikola Vucevic and Mo Bamba at the center position. The second round pick and Biyombo were sent to acquire Timofey Mozgov and Jerian Grant.

The pick ended up becoming Rodions Kurucs selected 40th overall. The Latvian played a total of 131 games before heading back to Europe.

In hindsight, having Elfrid Payton and Wes Iwundu as draft selections to show for trading All-NBA superstar Dwight Howard is not what was expected for Orlando.

For reference, the Boston Celtics made a similar trade the following summer shipping All Stars Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to Brooklyn.

Garnett was 37 years old while Paul Pierce was 36 years old when they left Boston. The Nets were banking on winning now with aging veterans and it backfired.

Howard was 26 and was one year removed from being a three time NBA Defensive Player of the Year selection when he was traded to the Lakers. They were blockbuster deals, but Howard was clearly more of a long-term asset than Garnett and Pierce combined.

Boston ended up with All Stars Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum to show after trading their stars. Orlando's true value did not come from the draft, but who was acquired in the trade.