The Houston Rockets‘ desire to sign Dwight Howard this summer is well known. However, it seems that they may offer the Los Angeles Lakers a sign-and-trade scenario for Howard if he chooses to head to Texas.
According to ESPN, the Rockets hope to propose a trade of Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin in exchange for Dwight Howard:
[pullquote]The threat of the James Harden-led Rockets signing Howard away from L.A. is very real to the Lakers, sources said, which means the Lakers will eventually be getting a sign-and-trade pitch from Houston as well. The Rockets will have the cap space to sign Howard outright after the expected shedding of Thomas Robinson’s contract, but sources say that the Rockets will certainly attempt to convince the Lakers to take in return Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin in a sign-and-trade deal for Howard, thus theoretically keeping alive the possibility that Houston could preserve its cap space to pursue Chris Paul and possibly pair Howard with Paul.
Asik is a quality defensive anchor at roughly half Howard’s price. And Lin had the greatest success of his career under Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni. But sources maintain that the Lakers’ main priority this offseason — besides re-signing Howard — is getting their financial house in order. Which is why the overriding expectation persists that L.A. will rebuff sign-and-trade proposals to simply bank the cap space for the summer of 2014 if Howard bolts.[/pullquote]
The Lakers would never accept this deal for two reasons: 1) Why should the Lakers help the Rockets get both Dwight Howard AND Chris Paul this summer when the Lakers are only being compensated by Asik and Lin? 2) The Lakers plan to have a vast amount of cap space in 2014 – and possibly 2015 – and they’ll use that space to sign the top free agent(s) that summer. Lin is owed nearly $20 million over the next two seasons, while Asik is due to earn the same amount. They were considered bad contracts last year when they signed them, and they’re still pretty horrible today.
In this situation, it would be best for the Lakers to just let Howard walk.
However, if the Los Angeles Clippers offered the rumored package of Blake Griffin and Eric Bledsoe for Dwight Howard – and D12 of course made it clear that he wanted to be a Clipper – then it would make sense for the Lakers to take part in a sign-and-trade.