It was supposed to be yet another blockbuster trade by the Los Angeles Lakers, who have won championships over the years after dealing for the likes of Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol.

Not so fast.

Eleven months after Orlando shipped center Dwight Howard to the Lakers in a four-team deal that was panned by many when it came to what the Magic received, who’s the winner so far in the trade?

Try Orlando. That's the word from Stan Van Gundy, who was fired as Magic coach three months before the Aug. 10, 2012 deal.

With Howard announcing Friday he will sign as a free agent with Houston, that means three of the teams in the trade will have lost the top piece they received. Center Andrew Bynum never played for Philadelphia due to injury and will leave the 76ers as a free agent. And swingman Andre Iguodala is departing Denver to sign as a free agent with Golden State.

“Certainly, right now, they’ve won the trade,’’ Van Gundy said about the Magic in a phone interview Saturday with FOX Sports Florida.

“Everything down the road you don’t know, because there’s salary-cap implications for all the teams. For Denver, they lose Andre Iguodala, and you don’t know who they’re going to replace him with. The same thing with L.A., they don’t have cap space, but down the road they could start getting out of money and in two years go out and hit the jackpot.

“I think the only conclusion could be right now that Orlando got the best of that trade. (Nikola) Vucevic was a very productive guy for them last year and (Moe) Harkless certainly looked like he has some potential, and Arron Afflalo is a good player. But to me what it comes down to is you’ve got to wait three or four years and see if they’re winning because that’s all that matters. ... They’re one of the teams that decided they wanted to be awful for a couple of years, and that seems to be the accepted way to do things (now). But, if you follow their plan, it seems to be that they’re off to a really good start and that trade really helped them.’’

But where the future really is looking bright now is in Houston. Van Gundy, an NBC Sports Radio analyst who doesn’t know when or if he will return to coaching, believes Howard will be a good fit for the Rockets.

Van Gundy coached Howard with the Magic from 2007-12. The two had their ups and downs, including Van Gundy publicly saying late in the 2011-12 season that Howard was trying to get him fired. But they’ve generally remained on good terms.

Van Gundy said the two text each other regularly. He said he sent a text to Howard on Friday night congratulating the big man on going to the Rockets, and soon got back a thank-you message.

“For Dwight, I think it’s a good fit roster-wise,’’ Van Gundy said. “(The Rockets are) a team that will surround him with skilled perimeter guys with (James) Harden and Chandler Parsons and Jeremy Lin, an average NBA point guard. But with shooting around him and things like that, I think it’s a good roster for him.