On Monday the Los Angeles Lakers no longer were contenders in the Dwight Howard sweepstakes, but it looks like they have once again become a possible destination for the center. The Brooklyn Nets were looked at as the frontrunners for landing Howard, but it seems as though the trade talks have died down.
Instead, the Lakers are reportedly back in the mix and trying for Howard one last time. This time, the Lakers have brought in the Houston Rockets in an effort to present the right offer to the Magic.
In this trade scenario reported by RealGM.com, the Lakers would receive Dwight Howard would end up in Los Angeles, but Andrew Bynum does not go to Orlando. Instead the Rockets would get Bynum and Jason Richardson, while the Magic would get a package of future draft picks and essentially free up cap space.
The Magic have been trying to get rid of Richardson’s contract in an effort to gain some flexibility. With a more punitive luxury tax approaching in the near future, the Magic do not want Richardson’s three-year, $18.6 million contract.
Sources say Magic GM Rob Hennigan may prefer acquiring young players and picks than taking on Bynum and attempting to convince him to sign long-term.
Some pieces in this trade have not been named, but the two headlines are Bynum and Howard. Neither the Rockets nor the Lakers have any problems paying the centers for the 2012-13 season, but it all comes down to long-term insurance. The Lakers and Rockets would like their big men to sign long-term extensions, but at this point it is unclear whether or not that is possible.
Bynum and Howard will be unrestricted free-agents next summer and both players will be highly coveted. In 2012-13 Bynum will be due $16,473,002 and Howard will be paid $19,261,200; hefty numbers, but they will not prevent Los Angeles and Houston from going after them.