* Howard led Magic in scoring the last six seasons
* 76ers land Andrew Bynum, Denver gets Andre Iguodala
(Recasts, adds quotes and detail)
Aug 10 (Reuters) - The Los Angeles Lakers bolstered their
championship credentials on Friday by landing six-time All-Star
Dwight Howard from the Orlando Magic as part of a blockbuster
12-player trade including the Denver Nuggets and Philadelphia
The deal thrusts the Lakers back into the mix of contenders
for an NBA title as Howard, the face of the Magic franchise and
a three-time defensive player of the year, joins Kobe Bryant,
Pao Gasol and Steve Nash in Los Angeles.
"Well, it looks like Superman has found a home," Bryant
wrote on his Facebook page, referring to the moniker his new
team mate earned because of the red cape he wore during the
National Basketball Association's (NBA) Slam Dunk contest in
Howard's move to Los Angeles concludes a drawn-out process
during which the Magic's top scorer and rebounder for each of
the last six seasons went back and forth in his decision on
whether to stay with the team.
The 26-year-old center, taken first overall by Orlando in
the 2004 NBA Draft, had requested a trade before the 2011-12 NBA
season but then said in March he would stick with the Magic
rather than test free agency.
But last month he reiterated his desire to be traded and
said if a move was not made he would leave the team when his
current contract expires at the end of next season.
The attention on his playing future was the most directed at
any prospective free agent since three-time NBA most valuable
player (MVP) LeBron James went on national television to
announce his much-publicised move to Miami in 2010.
"I'm kinda glad the whole thing is over. I'm sad for Orlando
that they weren't able to hold a huge star here," 39-year-old
Orlando-based based real estate broker Alex Downey told Reuters.
Orlando gets guard Arron Affalo and forward Al Harrington
from the Nuggets, forward Maurice Harkless and center Nikola
Vucevic from the 76ers and forward Josh McRoberts and guard
Christian Eyenga from the Lakers.
The Magic, who sent guard Jason Richardson to the 76ers,
will also receive five draft picks, including three
first-rounders, over the next five years.
"A primary goal for our basketball team is to achieve
sustainability while maintaining a long-term vision," Orlando
General Manager Rob Hennigan said in a statement. "We feel this
deal puts us in a position to begin building in that direction."
The departure of Howard comes nearly three months after the
Magic fired head coach Stan Van Gundy and mutually parted ways
with General Manager Otis Smith.
Van Gundy had also clashed with Howard last season, at one
point saying that his top player had wanted him fired.
In addition to Howard, the Lakers get guard Chris Duhon and
forward Earl Clark from Orlando.
It is the second offseason splash made by a Lakers team that
has suffered two straight early playoff exits since capturing a
16th NBA title in 2010. The team added two-time NBA MVP Nash
last month in a deal with the Phoenix Suns.
Philadelphia get twice NBA champion center Andrew Bynum from
the Lakers and Denver land forward Andre Iguodala from the
76ers, who posted a "Thank You, Andre" message on their website
with a photo of their former player soaring to the rim.
Iguodala, who has averaged 15.3 points and 5.8 rebounds per
game during an eight-year career spent entirely with the 76ers,
will be counted on to help a Nuggets team that fell in the
second round on the 2012 NBA playoffs.
"It's not often you get the opportunity to improve your team
by adding an All-Star player like Andre Iguodala," said Nuggets
Vice President of Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri.
"He's an Olympian, a great defender and a great all-around
player. We think he fits in really well with the type of system
coach George Karl runs and the team we have here in Denver."
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Additional reporting by
Barbara Liston in Orlando; Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)