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Dwight Howard In Purple And Gold? I Still Wouldn’t Bet On It

Please just hear me out. Don’t be that guy who only reads the headline and then immediately jumps down to the comments section to leave something nasty like, “GO BACK TO BOSTON HATER!!!” (I’m not from Boston, by the way). The bottom line is that no matter how strongly you or I want to see Dwight Howard in a Lakers uniform has no bearing on whether or not it actually happens. So it really doesn’t matter what I think.

I can’t help but feel that every minute that passes without a deal makes the likelihood of a deal seem more and more unlikely. For starters, multi-team deals are always complicated. It’s difficult not to think that the Lakers and Cavs aren’t being used to help drive up the cost to Houston. But more than anything it’s because whether or not Dwight Howard comes to L.A. is not up to Dwight Howard, it’s not up to the Lakers, it’s not up to the Rockets, and it’s not up to the Cavaliers. It’s up to the Orlando Magic.

At some point, Magic GM Rob Hennigan will have to make a decision that will be based on what’s best for his franchise. The way things currently stand, the team that’s in the best situation to help the Magic going forward is the Houston Rockets. You can’t tell me otherwise. Whatever happens with Dwight after a potential trade is made has zero effect on the Magic. That’s someone else’s problem.

When ESPN The Magazine’s Ric Bucher reported Thursday that Dan Fegan, Dwight Howard’s agent, told him that Dwight will test free agency at the end of next season, many Lakers fans dismissed it. The reason being that Dwight can sign for much more money at the end of next season than if he were to sign an extension right now. While that’s absolutely true, you have to realize that the same applies to Andrew Bynum and Bynum is the only blue chip asset the Lakers currently have that anyone wants. Even though I totally agree with the reports saying the Lakers feel confident that Dwight will re-sign with them, the same can’t be said about Bynum in either Cleveland or Houston. Not when Dallas will have plenty of cap space again next summer. Same as Atlanta, where Bynum lives in the off-season. Bynum can tell Cleveland that he’d strongly consider signing an extension, but that won’t prevent him from entertaining offers elsewhere.

The next thing you’re probably going to tell me is that Houston is willing to trade for Bynum without an extension. Well, guess what? They’re also willing to trade for Dwight without an extension and I’m guessing they’d prefer Dwight to Bynum. The same package they’d be sending to Orlando to get Bynum is the same package they can send to Orlando to get Howard.

So if you’re scoring at home, that would place Bynum second to Hennigan on the list of most powerful people involved in determining if Howard will be a Laker next season.

Please don’t try and convince me that Cleveland’s best offer is better than Houston’s best offer. The rumored Cleveland trade would result in Anderson Varejao ending up on the Magic. Varejao has two guaranteed years left on his contract worth about $18 million plus a team option for 2014-15 that isn’t full guaranteed for $9.7 million. The only reason Varejao would be included in the deal would be for Orlando to take back at least one contract that runs longer than Varejao’s. But no matter how many bad contracts the Magic can shed, they would still have Varejao’s contract on their books.

Here are the Cavs current assets that would be of interest to the Magic:

First Round Picks:

  • Their own first round picks in two non-consecutive drafts (picks that get worse if Cleveland adds Bynum)
  • The better 2013 first round pick between the Lakers and Heat (a pick that gets worse if the Lakers add Howard)
  • A conditional Kings pick (top-13 protected in 2013, top-12 protected in 2014, top-10 protected from 2015-17)
Second Round Picks:
  • Their own second round picks in any future draft (picks that get worse with the addition of Bynum)
  • The Magic’s second round pick in 2013 (a pick that gets much better with the loss of Howard)
  • The Magic’s second round pick in 2014 (a pick that gets much better with the loss of Howard)

Players:

  • Tristan Thompson (4th overall pick in the 2011 Draft; 13.3 PER, 8 ppg on 44 percent shooting as a rookie)
  • Tyler Zeller (the 17th pick in the 2012 Draft)
  • Omri Casspi ($2.2 million expiring contract with qualifying offer for 2013-14 of $3.3M)
  • Anderson Varejao (a sizable contract that can help Orlando dump worse contracts or be flipped again)
  • Luke Walton  ($6 million expiring contract)
  • Daniel Gibson ($4.8 million expiring contract)

As far as the draft picks are concerned, the best case scenario we’re talking about is one or two of Cleveland’s own first round picks (which decrease in value as Cleveland inevitably gets better), the two Heat/Lakers picks likely to be between 25-30 (practically second round picks), the Kings pick in next year’s draft (the highest the pick can be in order for the Kings to convey it is 14th), and two Magic second round picks (which you can make the case are more valuable than the two Miami/Lakers picks because they might only be a few spots lower but won’t cost as much or as many years).

There’s definitely a good-to-great package that can be put together on Cleveland’s end, especially if they’re willing to take back at least two of Orlando’s bad contracts (or more if Orlando is willing to take back Varejao).

But compare what Cleveland can offer to what Houston can offer:

First Round Picks:

  • Their own pick in next year’s draft (top-14 protected until 2016 otherwise it belongs to Atlanta)
  • Their own “First Allowable Draft” pick that occurs after satisfying their obligation to Atlanta
  • A conditional Raptors pick (top-3 and 15-30 protected in 2013, top-2 and 15-30 protected in 2014-15, top-1 and 15-30 protected in 2016-17, and unprotected in 2018)
  • A conditional Mavericks pick (top-20 protected from 2013-17 and unprotected in 2018)

Second Round picks

  • Their own 2013 second round pick (top-40 protected from 2013-15 and unprotected in 2016; otherwise it goes to Atlanta)
  • The Knicks 2014 second round pick
  • Their own 2014 second round pick (unless they satisfy their first-round obligation to Atlanta in 2013; then it goes to Milwaukee. Also top-40 protected from 2013-5, unprotected in 2016)
  • Their own second round picks from 2015 and beyond

Players:

  • Patrick Patterson (14th overall pick in the 2010 Draft)
  • Donatas Motiejunas (20th overall pick in the 2010 Draft)
  • Marcus Morris (14th overall pick in the 2011 Draft)
  • Chandler Parsons (38th pick in the 2011 Draft; 13.3 PER, 9.5 ppg as a rookie on 45 percent shooting, 33 percent on 3s
  • Jeremy Lamb (12th overall pick in the 2012 Draft)
  • Royce White (16th overall pick in the 2012 Draft)
  • Terrence Jones (18th overall pick in the 2012 Draft)
  • Kevin Martin ($12.4 million expiring contract)

As far as the draft picks are concerned, the best case scenario would give the Magic two lottery picks in next year’s draft. That’s in addition to their own expected lottery pick. It’s entirely conceivable, with the roster moves they’ve made, for the Mavericks to finish with one of the league’s top-10 records — thus making their top-20 protected pick likely to be conveyed to Houston in next year’s draft. There isn’t any combination of picks that Cleveland can put together that’s more attractive than those three picks.

As far as the players that Houston can offer, there’s no way they’re going to give up all three of their 2012 draft picks. But even if they were to just give up one of their 2012 picks, along with Motiejunas and Parsons, that’s still a better package of players than Thompson and Zeller. The better the picks they give up, the worse the package of player will need to be and vice versa.

The Rockets also have enough cap space combined with both Martin’s expiring contract and a handful of other guys on expiring or non-guaranteed deals at $2 million or less to take back either Hedo Turkoglu and/or Glen Davis and Jason Richardson. I can’t see the Cavs taking back all three guys, even if Orlando is willing to take back Varejao.

I’ve heard from a few Lakers fans on Twitter who keep insisting that Houston wouldn’t trade for Dwight because it’s a rebuilding situation. Either they’d be stuck with a disgruntled player and if he left they’d be left with nothing. So what? Who cares if he’s disgruntled? Is he really going to deliberately hurt his brand more than he already has? He doesn’t have a ton of options in free agency next season so it’s not like Houston couldn’t get something back in a sign-and-trade. Even if they were to be left with a third of the assets I described above, they’d still be in a good position to rebuild.

If Houston trades for Dwight they’d have until the trade deadline to make an impression on him and see how he feels about signing an extension. If he makes it abundantly clear that he’s not going to stay then they can try to move him at the trade deadline anyway. That might be the Lakers only real chance to get him. If Houston were to trade Dwight to the Lakers for Bynum.

But until then you’re fooling yourself if you think that anyone has a better package to send to Orlando than Houston does. At this point, I’d much sooner bet  my money that Dwight’s wearing red and white on opening day than purple and gold. That doesn’t mean that it’s impossible. I’m hoping it does.

Just ask yourself, if you were the GM or the Orlando Magic, what would you do?

About The Author

Andrew Ungvari is a Los Angeles native and a Lakers season ticket holder since 1989. Follow him on twitter @DrewUnga.

Number of Entries : 48
  • http://twitter.com/Bdawk20201 Jose Rodriguez

    So you’re telling me there a chance (Jim Carrey Voice)

  • http://twitter.com/Bdawk20201 Jose Rodriguez

    Once the day comes closer to trade date for Dwight. Rockets will wake up and realize their giving up there franchise to get a player who’s said he wont sign there. Plus Jeremy Lamb and Terrence Jones were killing it during the summer league and I doubt they give them up now. They probably give up bum ass Royce White instead of Lamb and Jones.With Rockets adding Lin’s and possibly Asik’s contract they wont be able to take back as many contracts. The only leverage Rockets have is they have that Top 10 pick from Raptors

  • Ali.F

    A very detailed and informative article,curious to see how Asik’s salary will impact Houston’s ability to absorb the bad contracts.

    Also I presume Darly Morey will have a discussion with Howard and his agent before agreeing to any deal with the Magic.. it will take a ‘huge leap of faith’ from Morey to gamble on Howard if he categorically states that he has Zero interest in playing in Houston,especially with teams like Dallas saving cap space.

    Its also about the shoe deal, Dwight is reported to get a windfall from Addidas to a tune of $200m if he plays in NY or LA markets per Adrian Wojnorowski(this explains his recent change of heart about re-signing in LA),so Dwight wouldn’t think twice about leaving that extra year and $25m on the table to walk off.

    Most importantly Bynum however will not walk away from that guaranteed extra money(partly because of his past injury history),he will most likely stay with the team owning his Full Bird rights offering a max.. hence gambling on Bynum and Howard is not worth the same risk.

    Also as per Adrian Wojnorowski’s report Bynum is open to playing in Dallas,Houston,Cleveland..so I don’t see why he will not stay in one of those places if traded.

  • Verse_b

    imo, staying pat on what we have from top to bottom is far better than having to trade for d12!!  
    Considering injuries to drew and howard!!  Investing in a player who has bad knees to a player who has had back surgery??  That i think would be the priority question.  Next having to focus on payroll would be the next!! Lakeshow payroll as of right now is pushing in the area of 90 to 93 mill!!  The team is in a win now situation with the kobe era, why trade many assets for 1 asset??  Both players ( drew/howard ) are expected to sign big and extended contracts after this season.  I’d give edge to bynum rather howard!  Bynum has howards number when going 1 on 1 between the two.  So Chemistry would be the third question in mind!  Chemistry vs athletic/youth is what lakeshow lost too. So, keeping all pieces and adding more to the soup would be much more upside!  The age of the lakeshow is in question but chemistry is much more formidable!!  Example celtics vs lakeshow 08! and heat vs thunder!  Not that i don’t want 
    d12, its chemistry that is the biggest key!

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_EB7A5MPGJ5DFPMFFWFZ6WLVKD4 Malik

      The Lakers only have 54 millions. The Rockets have 95.4 millions. They can take on Howard and absorb a contract or two in the process. L.A. cannot.

  • http://www.facebook.com/elias.lattouf.14 Elias Lattouf

    youre right, it doesnt matter what you think, on top of that no Laker fan wants to hear this, so what a waste of an article. LAME!

  • http://www.facebook.com/elias.lattouf.14 Elias Lattouf

    AND, if Bynum Might sign with Houston at the end of the season, and DH will for sure Not sign, then giving up everything to get Bynum sounds a little more reasonable, escpeially if they were gonna give up all that to rent DH, y not at least give urself a chance to re-sign, Bynums not far from DH.

    • Andrew Ungvari

      “I am often puzzled as to the basis of an article. I am particularly puzzled with that one,” Lee said. “When I read it, I was in Alaska with Andrew and his family. I have no clue who he could have been talking to. I was taken aback by the list, considering there is nobody in anybody’s camp he could’ve been talking to. I have no idea where that came about.” – David Lee, Bynum’s Agent
      So you can talk all you want about “Bynum might sign” and “DH will for sure Not sign” but the fact is, it’s not up to either of them. It’s up to Rob Hennigan. It might not be worth the risk to you but you’re not Darryl Morey. 

      And if “Bynums not far from DH”, then why do you want to trade for him? The same reasons you give me are the same reasons as to why the Rockets would. They’ll dare him to walk away from an extra $25M.

      I’m sorry you think it was a waste of an article, even if it was intended for people like you, who can’t understand why the whole NBA doesn’t want to help the Lakers win another championship.

      • http://www.facebook.com/cary.rumley Cary Rumley

         You don’t have to be Darryl Morey to understand the basic logistics of the situation, that’s a bad assumption on your part. Whether the list of teams was real or not doesn’t matter, there’s a fundamental reason we know Dwight WON’T resign in Houston and why Bynum would, and you already said it, money. Bynum does things for the money, he’s made that very clear. Howard isn’t requesting a trade away from Orlando because they weren’t paying him enough money, it’s because he was unhappy about the steps they were taking to get a winning team together, unlike Bynum he doesn’t have a ring, he wants to win. If it was about money Houston wouldn’t the same sense, contractually he might get a little more, but with his Adidas angle, in Orlando he’d get more than he will in Houston, and in L.A. that Adidas contract goes to max value, so if money was the motivator he’d still push for L.A., even though it isn’t his decision, when your Darryl Morey trying to gauge which of the two you want to take and stake your franchise on for the next year and possibly after it, the logistics point learly to getting Bynum, because winning isn’t his concern, money is, and Howard won’t stay guaranteed because he isn’t looking to be on a rebuilder, he wants to win now, and for the next 3 years that Kobe and Nash play together that’s a guarantee shot, and he will then be the franchise piece afterwards.

        • Andrew Ungvari

          Thanks for the comment. It’s funny that people think that Bynum is only concerned about money. When he mentioned how there was a bank in every city, he was referring to him having no control over where he gets traded. Translation: They have the power to trade me. But I can’t complain, because my new team still has to pay me.

          Adidas would have no problem with Dwight playing in Houston with the exposure Lin will bring him. Just ask Tracy McGrady who routinely finished top-2 in jersey sales in China while playing with Yao. Furthermore, centers don’t sell shoes. They never have. Not even Shaq. Ewing might have been the only one and that’s because it was a nice looking shoe.

          Also, you don’t know what Bynum’s priority is. Just because he’s won two rings doesn’t mean he’ll sign with the highest bidder — especially if it’s Cleveland. The difference in money lost by going to Dallas won’t be nearly as much without a state income tax in Texas.

          The only “logistic” that matters to Morey is that Dwight, like Bynum, would be walking away from $25 million if he joined another team. If you have 60 games to make an impression, go with the better of the two. If by late February, you’ve yet to make a positive impression, then move him again.

          I totally respect your argument. But you’re looking at it from a Lakers point of view. Your use of Morey’s logistics and Dwight and Bynum’s motives is clearly from the angle of a Lakers fan.

          • http://www.facebook.com/cary.rumley Cary Rumley

             Granted, you make a lot of good points, but Howard sells shoes, the AdiHoward Power shoe is very popular, granted not as much as the AdiRose so you have that valid point again. Howard though, will walk away from 25Mil, because that same show deal isn’t worth as much in Houston, it’s worth something around 50-75Mill more in L.A. then it is now in Orlando. And Jerseys don’t equal money for the show company. It’s a risk/reward angle not me being a Laker fan. Though I may be assuming their motives in a lot of eyes, I’m only going off of what I’ve heard them say and forming an opinion from that. Can it not be true that Bynum, if the bidder was Houston with his Bird Rights, got a high amount of money he would stay? Whereas, though I do think Howard would consider the money for a long while, would be willing to walk away, because unlike Bynum he has the lucrative shoe deal to pad his bank account that Bynum doesn’t, and whether he really sells shoes or not, he still gets paid by Adidas in L.A. to the tune of 200Mil over I believe the 130Mil it’s at now, don’t know the exact figures if I’m being honest with you. Bynum doesn’t have that avenue, it’s pretty much Jersey sales and his contract that makes his money. But hey, what do either of us really know, it could go any way, I will be the first to admit I hadn’t considered all the options with Nash, scoffed when I read that he could end up in L.A. and then shit myself when he was because family, and co-owning a production company in L.A. became factors we didn’t know about before.

          • Andrew Ungvari

            i wasn’t talking about jersey sales in terms of making money. I was talking about jersey sales as an indicator of one’s popularity. 

            Every player in the league make the same amount of money from jersey sales. The split the money that comes from the licensing deals with the apparel companies. It’s the apparel companies who make the money from the jersey sales.

            Dwight’s in the final year of his deal with Adidas. If they have no interest in renewing the type of deal he could get with exposure in Asia, there are plenty of other brands who would jump at it.

            He’s going to get a lot of money wherever he goes.

          • Andrew Ungvari

            i wasn’t talking about jersey sales in terms of making money. I was talking about jersey sales as an indicator of one’s popularity. 

            Every player in the league make the same amount of money from jersey sales. The split the money that comes from the licensing deals with the apparel companies. It’s the apparel companies who make the money from the jersey sales.

            Dwight’s in the final year of his deal with Adidas. If they have no interest in renewing the type of deal he could get with exposure in Asia, there are plenty of other brands who would jump at it.

            He’s going to get a lot of money wherever he goes.

            Regarding Nash, I predicted that this is what the Lakers would try to do first back on June 6th. I even mentioned Nash’s kids and the film stuff.

            And thanks again, I always appreciate a good discussion.

          • http://www.facebook.com/cary.rumley Cary Rumley

             Well if you predicted Nash and all of the extras then I’m definitely more apt to believe your Howard opinion, I can only hope your wrong, but I also have had the terrible feeling you might be right.

          • http://www.facebook.com/cary.rumley Cary Rumley

             But seriously, thank you for an actually stimulating discussion of the issue with well thought out points and reasoning behind them. It’s rare I get to actually debate the issue with someone.

  • Don1983

    The article made some great points, but the bottom line is that Dwight wont resign with them and mostly because they are in a rebuilding situation. So what is the point of them giving up all their great draft picks and prospects just to end up trading Dwight again and not getting back as much as they gave up. Its just pointless and i doubt they would be willing to do it.

    • Andrew Ungvari

      It’s not pointless. They’re obviously okay with bottoming out, even if they lose Dwight. Why else would they let Dragic walk, trade Lowry for just a draft pick, and amnesty Scola? They’ve made it abundantly clear they’re willing to take the risk. If neither Bynum or Dwight is willing to give them even a verbal commitment right now, why not trade for the better of the two? You say it’s the bottom line. It’s not. Dwight would still be walking away from $25 million, even if he’s signed-and-traded next summer. They can always trade him at the deadline if he guarantees he won’t stay by then. He’ll still get max money. But at least they’ll have 60 or so games to make an impression on him. That’s worth the risk.

    • Andrew Ungvari

      It’s not pointless. They’re obviously okay with bottoming out, even if they lose Dwight. Why else would they let Dragic walk, trade Lowry for just a draft pick, and amnesty Scola? They’ve made it abundantly clear they’re willing to take the risk. If neither Bynum or Dwight is willing to give them even a verbal commitment right now, why not trade for the better of the two? You say it’s the bottom line. It’s not. Dwight would still be walking away from $25 million, even if he’s signed-and-traded next summer. They can always trade him at the deadline if he guarantees he won’t stay by then. He’ll still get max money. But at least they’ll have 60 or so games to make an impression on him. That’s worth the risk.

      • Don1983

        Its not worth the risk when Howard has made it clear that he is not willing to resign with the team, but thats obviously my opinion. Why even put your franchise in that position? I mean even with Howard they are barely a playoff team. I guess since Howard has a history of flip flopping they are willing to take the risk. Houston is in great position to rebuild their team through the draft. 
        Their initial investment in Howard wont be returned if they just trade him at the deadline again. Now if he doesnt want to play with the Lakers im more than happy with the 2nd best center in the league. 

        • Andrew Ungvari

          Dwight hasn’t specifically ruled out Houston. He also hasn’t said he’d re-sign with the Lakes. I know that sources have. The only team he’s gone on record as saying he’d re-sign with is Brooklyn.

          You put your franchise in that position because they’ve struck out when attempting to sign every big name free agent in the last three summers. Trade for one and maybe the ability to pay more money would keep him there.

          Worst case scenario, they can always trade Dwight for Bynum at the deadline. They don’t have to trade every asset they have to Orlando. Just enough that their offer is better than everybody else’s.

          Thanks for the interaction, by the way. Much appreciated.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Anthony-Flores/642019651 Anthony Flores

            Drew, how does it change your position or odds if Dwight comes out publicly (or privately to their FO, via his agent) that he wants to be in LA now and absolutely doesn’t want to be in Houston and won’t resign?

          • Andrew Ungvari

            It puts more pressure on Orlando to find a way to get him to LA even if it’s not for the most desired package. But if Bynum refuses to even consider Houston or Cleveland there’s no way either of those teams get involved to help the Lakers get Dwight.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Anthony-Flores/642019651 Anthony Flores

            Yes, Drew, I agree. As I wrote to you above, I think the biggest barrier to all this is again Bynum — neither he nor his agent have said anything publicly. Nor has he officially spoken to either franchise. 

            We don’t know what he really wants at this point, and it’s kind of a catch-22 because the Lakers don’t teams talking to him until there’s an agreed upon framework for the deal. But teams like Hou or Cavs won’t max their bid for him until they get a gauge on his interest level for staying there. 

            I think if it doesn’t happen by 2nd or 3rd week of August, the Lakers back out and focus on repairing the relationship with Bynum. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Anthony-Flores/642019651 Anthony Flores

    Solid points, Drew. And thanks for the breakdown of assets — I’ve been looking for that, and you did it perfectly. 

    While it’s hard to argue with many of your points, the biggest knock against it is that guys close to Dwight (such as Jarrod Rudolph) have said he ABSOLUTELY does NOT want to go to Houston. It’s been emphatic, and there’s no chance he’d resign. 

    Whether Houston is willing to take the risk, okay maybe, but listen to guys who write for the Rockets — they don’t have faith in their ability to keep Howard and prefer Bynum. It’s not like they’re the Lakers. It’s a rebuilding project in a city that struggles to get top free agents even to visit them for meetings! So of course, Howard is a bigger star, better, and preferable — they have to be realistic at some point too. 
    If you’ve got a top 10 NBA player (going off Bynum’s PER) who’s open and willing to sign long-term and would be happy to be there, that means something. 

    Btw, the Cavs are in the same boat as Houston — they don’t attract big free agents either and should jump at the chance to land a top 10 player who wants to be there and is open to staying long-term.

    So while you could be right, I think there’s just as good of a chance that Houston and Cavs enter a small bidding war for Bynum in a 3-way deal — one that hopefully gives them prospects, picks, and takes back 2 bad contracts (one to LA, one to Cavs or Hou) that ultimately satisfied Orlando’s goals. 

    Hopefully we’ll know more in the next two weeks. 

    • Andrew Ungvari

      Everything you said is true. But there was a time when Dwight said that Brooklyn was the only team he’d re-sign. So if he’s changed his mind once already, even if it was because he had no choice to, that says something. Let’s also not forget that this whole nightmare could have been avoided if he hadn’t decided to opt in — another example of Dwight changing his mind.

      There’s still no guarantee that Bynum would stay in Houston. We don’t know if he’s open and willing to sign long-term. This list of teams was made up, according to Bynum’s agent.

      As for the Cavs, if Bynum left Cleveland for Dallas, the absence of a state income tax wouldn’t make the difference in money that significant. Not being able to sign for as many years by leaving would only make him a free agent sooner. Let’s also not forget about Atlanta, where Bynum lives in the offseason.

      Houston can always trade Howard for Bynum at the deadline if they’re absolutely sure he’s gone. Then Orlando gets what they want, the Lakers get what they want, and at least Houston can try to convince Bynum to stay or sign-and-trade him somewhere else.

      Thanks for the comment.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Anthony-Flores/642019651 Anthony Flores

        Okay, Drew. Thanks for the response. Look, you could be right. I think Orl has in the back of their minds, “Hey, worst case we trade with the Nets before the deadline in December…” In other words, they are not rushing to make a move. And the Lakers cannot leave Bynum on the table forever. So that’s working against this trade as well. 

        I know Howard’s opinion or what his “sources” say about him can’t be fully relied upon, and that gives Houston confidence they can change his mind, but I even heard the recent “I now want LA and will resign there” message was to scare Houston off. Just seems obvious Dwight REALLY doesn’t want to go to a city — again — that struggles to get lesser free agents to even consider them. So maybe he hates the idea, or maybe not. But the fact that Houston is soooooooo far from being a contender even with Howard and Lin, also means a lot IMHO. 

        I think the truth will come out soon about what Dwight really thinks and his intentions. I imagine Houston will have a talk with Dwight and his team once a trade reaches more advanced stages, and they will attempt to dissuade Houston from taking him. It may not work, but most people seem to think the more sensible play for Houston is Bynum, especially now that they have their star in Lin. 

        Anyway, I know we Lakers fans want Howard and hate people telling us otherwise — you listen to fans and even the radio guys and they act like Howard is already suiting up. 

        The only things we have in our favor are: 

        - Brooklyn is out- Dwight apparently wants LA now- We have a top 10 player other teams want- Cavs/Hou would both want/need Bynum- Cavs/Hou have what Orl wants to rebuild

        It’s far from guaranteed, but even as Eric Pincus said, if Howard pushes against Houston hard enough — and toward LA — that could shift the landscape and give us the edge. I hope that “early August” report is accurate so that we aren’t held in suspense much longer. 

        • Andrew Ungvari

          The early August reports have more to do with the fact that Houston can’t trade any of their rookies until Aug. 9 for Motiejunas and Aug. 12 for the other rookies. There can’t be any other explanation.

          Dwight definitely has a say but the ultimate decision isn’t his. Like I mentioned to someone else, Melo made it known that the Knicks were the only team he’d re-sign with and the Nets backed off, despite having a much more attractive package for Denver. 

          But even if Dwight pouts and talks bad about Houston, he can still be traded there and they still have his rights for a year. So there’s two ways that Dwight ends up in Houston. Once is Orlando sends him there because Houston wants him. The other is Orlando sends him there because Bynum says he doesn’t want to go there and they prefer to take their chances with Howard.

          More than anything, I can see the Lakers backing out of it if it continues to drag on. The longer this goes on, the greater the risk that they end up with a pissed-off Bynum. The last thing they need is no Dwight and a hurt Bynum who says he wants out after Dwight’s already been traded.

          B

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Anthony-Flores/642019651 Anthony Flores

            I agree about the rookies and the August date. Even if the Magic have been tempted by a package from Cleveland, they know it won’t be the best possible offer from them until Houston gets involved. This forces Cavs to raise the stakes. Likewise, the Cavs presence in talks forces Houston to offer more, which may be why they were leaked so much despite the Magic not being serious about the offer. 

            I also think the August date has something to do with the Magic coaching search in a couple ways: 1) Probably they hope, along with the new coach, they can make one final plea to Dwight about staying in Orl (not happening, but I’m sure they feel it’s worth the try)… and 2) Even though it’s not the coach’s decision, I’m sure they’d like his thoughts/input on a deal of this magnitude that affects the franchise for the next 3-5 years at least. They can’t get either of those things now, and coaching situation won’t be resolved until late this coming week at best. 

            I even agree with you about Houston. If they are willing to ignore Dwight’s desire not to be there, they probably have the best odds. Their ability to absorb salary (with with Asik and Lin) is high, and their arsenal of picks/prospects is best. Still, while it’s not Dwight’s decision and Orl doesn’t care about where he ends up… he can push pretty hard against a destination and toward one he liked. That almost got him to Brooklyn, as he cut off trade partners with “I’ll only sign one place” stance. It failed because of the complexity of the deal and because a rebuilding team doesn’t want to build around a “max” center who can’t rebound, play D and just had two foot injuries in a short season. But by all accounts, it was close. 

            I believe Dwight and his team will do their part to push hard to LA now — it’s just the best situation for him on every level. Even better than Brooklyn when he thinks clearly about it. And when you have guys like Bill Ingrim or Randy Harvey saying emphatically they prefer Bynum just because its’ more realistic/likely they keep him… I tend to think Morey could end up thinking the same. Ingrim noted that Hou would not need Bynum to sign a commitment before being traded, whereas the Cavs would. 

            The biggest wrench — BY FAR — in my opinion, is that Bynum can pretty much shoot down any trade possibility by saying he doesn’t want to be in Hou or Cle, or even by being vague and saying he’s looking forward to being a free agent.  And given his immaturity, and the fact that he’s being treated like a 2nd class citizen relative to Dwight, I could see him being irked and not helping the Lakers here. 

            Still, if Howard pushes hard to LA (and away from Hou or Cle) — and Drew strongly likes either Cavs or Hou as a possible destination (these are the big “if’s” for me)… then I like our chances.

          • Andrew Ungvari

            All things true. But don’t forget that Houston doesn’t have to do all of those things in a trade. They just have to present Orlando with a deal that’s better than what Cleveland is offering. They can do that without taking back all those bad deals or forking over all their first round picks. With the Asik signing it’s probably impossible for them to take back three bad contracts now anyway.
            Also, while it’s highly unlikely that Orlando would start the season with Dwight, it’s still possible. By the deadline we’ll have an idea where the Toronto pick will land, where the Dallas pick will land, and where the Rockets pick will land.
            But if Dwight’s still on the Magic when the season starts, then there’s a good chance he’ll go back to trying to force his way to Brooklyn.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Anthony-Flores/642019651 Anthony Flores

            Yep Drew, after seeing today’s ESPN report — though it could just be a Magic ploy for leverage — I’m beginning to think that no trade now proposal made to Orl now will be good enough. Then, at the deadline, with the Lakers probably out of it/trying to keep Bynum happy… and Houston not willing to rent Dwight for part of the year, Brooklyn moves back into the lead. Magic will be forced to make the Brooklyn deal or lose Howard for nothing. Really stupid but I’m over this and no longer really “expect” Dwight to be here when the season starts.  

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_EB7A5MPGJ5DFPMFFWFZ6WLVKD4 Malik

    As a Rockets fan, this article hit the nail on the head. Of course I already knew our assets, against what the Lakers and Cavs have to offer and tried to tell these delusional Lakers fans that Mitch Kupchat has no leverage. Dangling Bynum as a bargaining chip—- that ship has sailed.

    They stubborn though. They don’t listen, and think because they are the Lakers, things will “miraculously” go their way. Smh…..God loves the people of Sodom and Gomorrah (California), just the same as He do a strong, Christian people of Texas. L.A. isn’t entitled to nothing!

    And just to add on to this article…..the reason Rob will move forward in August, as oppose to anytime soon, is because he up the offer on the Rockets. The August date is around the same time our recent rookies can be traded since they already signed their contracts and need 30 days wait period before a trade can be commenced for one of them ( most likely, R.White).

    This deal looking more like a trade between the Magic and Rockets. I wouldn’t be surprise if the Lakers aren’t included at all. We can literally take Howard, and if he re sign with us (after saying he wouldn’t), we can also take Bynum in the next summer and have both of the best centers. We’d still have cap space and well under the luxury tax.

    • Andrew Ungvari

      I’m not sure what you’re talking about when you say that ship has sailed. Kupchak knows that he’s still got Bynum. There isn’t another player involved in these trade talks that’s better. So no matter what, he’s going into next season with a top-two center that he knows other teams covet. There’s nothing delusional about that. 

      As much as I don’t think this trade is going to happen, it’s still a possibility if the Rockets get cold feet. The Nets made a better offer than the Knicks did for Carmelo but they chickened out when Melo said no matter what he wouldn’t re-sign there. So the Nets ended up making the same offer for Deron Williams but they had a year-and-a-half to sway him. Utah got the #3 pick in the 2010 in Favors, the #3 pick in the 2011 Draft, and a pick in next year’s draft from Golden St.

      You don’t think the Nuggets wouldn’t have preferred that trade to what they got from New York? It was the Nets who pulled out of it. So Orlando might want to make a deal with Houston, but it’s Houston that might pull out.

      I don’t know about all that Sodom and Gomorrah talk. I’d prefer to keep that stuff out this conversation. There’s good and bad people everywhere. That last thing god cares about is basketball.

      • Jrcatenza

        good points andrew! you pissed me a bit at the start, but reading your comments, you, to me, is the most objective laker fan i’ve ever encountered..good reasoning!

        • Andrew Ungvari

          Thanks, man. I appreciate that.

  • Heavyhitter177

    for get d12 we could still win without him lets get brandon rush

    • Andrew Ungvari

      Lakers really need to stop talking about Brandon Rush. He’s a restricted free agent and the most the Lakers can offer is $3.1 million. The Warriors will match that in a heartbeat. The Lakers have nothing else that the Warriors would want in a sign and trade. I’m begging all of you stop talking about Brandon Rush. It ain’t happening.

  • Essam Makram

    With Antawn Jamison on board I would trade Bynum and
    Gasol for Howard with a contract extension.

  • Guest124

    they are waiting on the rockets to finish up their deals with Lin and Asik then DMO will be eligible to be traded by Aug.5 th….. and all reports point that Howard will be traded early august… houston will be done with all the above that i mention….

  • Guest124

    “Also as per Adrian Wojnorowski’s report Bynum is open to playing in Dallas,Houston,Cleveland..so I don’t see why he will not stay in one of those places if traded”

    Didnt Bynum’s agent came out and said his client has no interest in Cleveland and there was never a such list….. I know see lakers fans are delusional

  • ANTHONYinCALI

    Just re-sign bynum already

  • http://www.facebook.com/jonathan.taylor.73932646 Jonathan Taylor

    Is the Houston deal better? Probably. Does Houston do the deal? HELL NO!!! Allow me to explain. Houston has good shot at landing some good players with those draft picks and getting a very good team in a few years with the addition of Jeremy Lin. There is no way I see Houston taking on two awful bad contracts, or have I seen rumors saying that there willing to do so. That would be completely ludicrous on there part giving up draft picks and taking bad contracts for Howard staying for one year? And even if they were to trade Howard at the deadline they would still be stuck with those bad contracts. Cleavland on the other hand would take one of those bad contracts and get Andrew Bynum. I just don’t see Houston giving those good draft picks for bad contract and one year of Howard who will NOT mark my words stay in Houston. This as good as it gets Orlando gm you blew it for not taking the Nets deal. Time to send Howard to the Lakers.

    • Andrew Ungvari

      You basically just told me the same thing that Houston’s been telling their fans for the last three years. Rockets fans are tired of waiting for draft picks to pan out and give them a good team. Lin is only signed for three years. People have to stop telling me that Dwight won’t stay in Houston like they either know or as if Houston cares.

      Again, it’s up to Orlando to pull the trigger–not Houston and not Dwight. If Houston offers them what they want, they’ll take it. Only one more year of Turkoglu’s contract is guaranteed, Jason Richardson’s contract isn’t really that horrible, and they can totally avoid taking back Big Baby if they wanted to. They have to draw the line somewhere. The better the picks and rookies they give up, the less salary they’ll have to take back. So saying that it’s completely ludicrous on their part is false. They’re not giving up every asset they have. I’m guessing it would be two picks, Turkoglu and Richardson, and one of their three rookies. Or two picks, Turkoglu, one rookie, and one other guy on a rookie deal. With Asik now, they can still take back more bad salary but many more players get involved and things get a lot more complicated.

      Thanks for the comment. All really good points.

  • itigga

    What everyone seems to forget is the fact of why DW12 wants to leave…its to win, and the reason why he wont sign anywhere until after he season is yes money, but also to see what team has the best chance to win with him on it. If the Nets team looks like they have a better shot at winning after next season more then the Lakers do then thats where he will go. He resigned the last time with the Magics because they made it to the finals, now the whole NBA did a face lift, players are all over the place, no one knows which team is going to look the best next year, so as we all do DW12 is going to watch it all unfold as we do. Whatever team looks the best is the team he will sign with as a F.A.

    • Andrew Ungvari

      While that might be true, you also have to understand that the Lakers will obviously want Dwight to sign a long-term deal and this particular Lakers team is fairly old with only Nash under contract beyond 2013-14. So the Lakers definitely look like a contender for the next two seasons, Dwight has to think about where he wants to be beyond that. There’s no guarantee the Lakers can remain competitive if they have to rebuild.

  • http://twitter.com/johnnybarry johnny barry

    My thought as to why Dwight is more likely to come to LA is that with LAL in the picture as a third team ORL would be able to receive more assets. If LA are part of the trade ORL can also receive EBanks (decent player) Mcroberts (expiring) Goudelock (expiring) future picks (not much here) and the ability to take on another bad contract in J Richardson(important). If you were ORL wouldn’t you want to add those pieces to the package that Houston might offer for Bynum?

    • Andrew Ungvari

      I think Houston has something like 8 expiring or non-guaranteed contracts right now. The Magic would have no problem including them in a deal and then either waiving them or letting them play out the year.And all but maybe one are better than Ebanks, McRoberts, and Goudelock.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_EB7A5MPGJ5DFPMFFWFZ6WLVKD4 Malik

    If I might add here, the way the deal would be structured in a Magic/Rockets trade, the numbers have to match. You break it down in two parts.

    The first part would be: K.Martin, C.Parsons, P.Patterson, M.Morris and R.White. This package is soley to make the numbers match. Now, of course Rob would want more for Howard, besides the numbers already matching here.

    That’s where you structure the options accordingly to the way Andrew explained. A top draft pick, to go with one player. Two draft picks with no player. Three draft picks minus a player from the “first group of players.”

    The picks are the supreme package; more draft picks, less players to go with it. If Rob wants all 5 of our draft picks, then only K.Martin and Chandler Parsons will be dealt.

    If Andrew can explain how draft picks make the numbers work to match, that would be helpful.

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