The Los Angeles Lakers have bolstered their championship credentials by landing six-time NBA All-Star Dwight Howard from the Orlando Magic as part of a blockbuster 12-player trade including the Denver Nuggets and Philadelphia 76ers.
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, Spain's Pau Gasol and Steve Nash in Los Angeles.
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 over 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 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.
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.