UPDATE 3: “Orlando has refocused its trade talks for Howard with the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets, and the Nets are starting to believe that Magic general manager Rob Hennigan simply wants to do a deal elsewhere, sources said. Clearly, the Nets are pushing hard on Lopez’s deal to apply pressure to Orlando, but there’s nothing left for them to offer Orlando that they haven’t already made available to them.” – Yahoo! Sports
UPDATE 2: David Aldridge reports “no deal involving Howard going to either team was likely at the moment — though the situation remains fluid and could re-heat at any moment.”
UPDATE: Los Angeles Times says the Lakers are back in talks and that the team is now more open to taking on Jason Richardson‘s contract. They’re also saying that the Lakers are “satisfied” with Howard’s back. CBS Sports reported that the acquisition of Nash “instantly” made the Lakers more attractive to Dwight, yet he still has concerns over whether the team could win a championship.
Multiple sources, including HoopsWorld, are saying that the Los Angeles Lakers, Orlando Magic and Houston Rockets are talking about a blockbuster trade that would send Dwight Howard to L.A., Andrew Bynum to Houston and the following picks to Orlando (via @DrewUnga): HOU’s picks: TOR (top-3 protect), MEM’s (lotto protected), DAL (top-20 protect). HOU’s pick is BK’s (unless top-14).
Why would Orlando do it? Their new GM is from the Oklahoma City Thunder – a team that grew into a contender through the draft. The picks from Houston would help them do that. They are said to like Bynum, but they are worried about his health and if he’d stay in Orlando after the season.
They’d also most likely get young prospects and cap relief. For example, ESPN is reporting that the Magic would likely send Jason Richardson and his bad contract to Houston. The Rockets could easily send back Kevin Martin’s $12.4 million expiring contract to help with the cap situation.
Why would Houston do it? Dwight Howard doesn’t want to play in Houston. Period. Unlike the Lakers, the Rockets were never on his list. They have set themselves up to land a superstar, but why would they let their hard work go to waste by renting Howard for a year then potentially losing him in free agency? They’d have his Bird rights – meaning they could offer him more money to stay – though if he left for L.A. or New York/Brooklyn he would make up the difference in endorsement money.
Plus, Bynum apparently would be open to playing in Houston, according to reports a few days ago.
Why would the Lakers do it? They finally get Dwight. He could leave at the end of the year, but why would he leave a team with his Bird rights who also are a contender and play in Los Angeles? His Adidas deal would sky rocket. Plus. they were on his original list of teams he was interested in going to.
The Magic and Nets are thought to be trying to work out a deal between them for Dwight right now, but can any deal from Brooklyn really top what they’d get from Houston? No.
So, once the Brooklyn talks break down, wait for the Lakers to pounce.