West now a three-team race

Now teammates, Howard's addition makes Kobe and Co. Western Conference favorites. Fernando Medina/NBAE/Getty Images

After roughly a year of near-constant drama, the Orlando Magic finally sent Dwight Howard on his way Thursday night, dealing the mega-talented center to (who else?) the Los Angeles Lakers in a four-team swap that also involved the Denver Nuggets and Philadelphia 76ers. In doing so, they also changed the landscape of the NBA with a single trade.

So let's do a little surveying -- what does the Howard deal mean for the parties involved, as well as the rest of the league, in the 2012-13 season?