Dwight Howard's move from Orlando to Los Angeles should bring a sigh of relief from inside Verizon Center. The Wizards' number of regular-season confrontations with the All-Star center have been halved from four to two.

They might have been even more excited if they still had JaVale McGee, who was regularly embarrassed by the former Magic center. Howard's dominance of McGee is now Denver's problem (and the Nuggets helped facilitate his move).

Meanwhile, the rest of the deal, which landed Andrew Bynum in Philadelphia and sent Andre Iguodala to the Nuggets, potentially has reordered the Eastern Conference. But it's not clear whether it has become any easier for the Wizards to get back to the playoffs.

Certainly nothing has displaced the NBA champion Miami Heat at the top, and Boston and Indiana are front-runners for top-four positioning. From there, it's trickier to predict.

If the good Bynum appears in Philadelphia -- the 7-footer coaches fear, one with the chance to be the franchise centerpiece he never was in Los Angeles -- the 76ers believe they will be a force. Bynum's breakout season in 2011-12 (18.7 ppg, 11.8 rpg) was marred by occasional poor discipline and lackluster effort.

The Sixers also assume success in a bigger role for Evan Turner and that an aging Jason Richardson and still streaky Nick Young will be improvements over Iguodala and Lou Williams. But they won't be assured of anything against Brooklyn's pricey backcourt duo of Deron Williams and Joe Johnson.

The New York Knicks may not be title contenders, but they should reach the postseason. If Chicago can't stay afloat without Derrick Rose for half the season, that leaves the Wizards fighting for one of two playoff spots against retooling Atlanta, rebuilding Orlando and the rest of the East.

For the moment, Washington's relief over Howard's relocation could be complemented by the pleasure of an additional game against Bynum. The Sixers host the Wizards once next year (Jan. 30) and visit D.C. twice (March 3, April 12). When the Lakers visited last March, Bynum outscored Kevin Seraphin 19-14, but he was outrebounded 9-6 and committed seven turnovers in a 106-101 Wizards victory.

- Craig Stouffer