Another day, another team. Dwight Howard’s list of possible destinations has reportedly expanded to include the Golden St. Warriors. While nothing in the NBA is impossible, the English language doesn’t have a word for the closest something can be to being impossible without actually calling it impossible.
Here are three big reasons why Dwight Howard won’t be a member of the Golden State Warriors next season:
Most importantly, the Warriors don’t have any cap space. If Dwight wants to be a Warrior, the Lakers would have to be willing to engage in a sign-and-trade deal. Not only would that involve Dwight taking $30 million less than he could get if he re-signed with the Lakers, but when he finds out what the Warriors roster would look like after hearing what the Lakers would want in exchange for him, his interest in moving up north would disappear quicker than you could say ‘Joe Barry Carroll’.
Familiarity Breeds Contempt
The Lakers and the Warriors have only made two trades in the last 23 years. Terry Teagle for Shawn Vandiver in 1990 and Pig Miller for Dwayne Whitfield in 1994. It is extremely rare for teams within the same division to make a trade and even more rare when a player the caliber of Dwight Howard is at the center of it. I know the Suns traded Steve Nash to the Lakers last year but that was more a case of the Suns accommodating Nash for years of loyalty so that he could play for a contender and still be close to his kids.
There’s a reason why teams don’t like making trades within their division. Who wants to be haunted by the player they gave away for years and years? Teams don’t prefer to make trades within their own conference, let alone their own division. Do people really think the Lakers would sign-and-trade 27-year-old Dwight to the Warriors and help create a divisional dynasty with Dwight, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Harrison Barnes?
Keep in mind that the Warriors can’t sign Dwight outright without the Lakers engaging in a sign-and-trade. So if it’s up to the Lakers, why would they help accommodate it? The answer is they wouldn’t. Not unless they’re getting back at least two of those aforementioned three. Bill Simmons throwing out an Andrew Bogut and Harrison Barnes trade idea for Dwight makes absolutely no sense for the Lakers.
**I’ll delve further into Simmons’ latest column on Dwight later this week.
The Lakers have been on the receiving end of a sign-and-trade, most memorably when they traded Caron Butler to the Wizards for a signed-and-traded Kwame Brown. However, the only time I can recall the Lakers ever engaging in any type of sign-and-trade deal where they were on the signing-and-trading side was when they had to sign-and-trade the unofficially retired Aaron McKie so they could make the salaries work in the Pau trade.
There are a few reasons why the Lakers don’t involve themselves in sign-and-trades. The most important one is that nobody ever leaves the Lakers by choice. They only leave if either the Lakers don’t want them anymore or if another team offers them more money. That’s it.
When Kobe Bryant flirted with the Chicago Bulls in the Summer of 2004, Jerry Buss preemptively stated that he would not engage in a sign-and-trade if Kobe decided he wanted to join the Bulls. I can’t imagine the Lakers wouldn’t have a similar stance this year if Dwight also wanted to sign with a team that didn’t have the cap space to sign him outright. The league’s new collective bargaining agreement not only prohibits free agents from getting any more money in a sign-and-trade than they could get just by signing with a team outright, but it also prohibits teams more than $4 million over the luxury tax from engaging in sign-and-trades. In other words, the only teams to take serious when it comes to Dwight fleeing the Lakers are the Rockets, the Mavericks, and the Hawks.
Keep all of this in mind going forward since there are sure to be more teams rumored to be on Dwight’s alleged wish list until the official free agency period begins.
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