The Los Angeles Lakers, Orlando Magic and Cleveland Cavaliers are reportedly discussing a three-team deal that would send Dwight Howard to L.A. and Andrew Bynum to Cleveland.
Over this past week, Orlando has engaged in talks with the following teams regarding a possible Howard trade: Lakers, Brooklyn Nets, Houston Rockets and Atlanta Hawks. Of those four teams, the Nets have willingly taken themselves contention, and the Hawks appear to be longshots.
That leaves L.A. and Houston.
It's no secret that the Rockets are making a very hard play to bring Howard in. By using their amnesty clause on Luis Scola, putting it on record that they would part with anyone currently on the roster, offering up draft picks and expressing a willingness to take on massive amounts of awful Orlando salaries – Houston management has put a very tantalizing offer on the table. If the Magic are interested in getting cap relief and picks back for Howard, as they reportedly are, then accepting Houston’s offer would make the most amount of sense.
And yet, for whatever reason, Magic management is still engaged in talks with the Lakers.
Now, it’s worth noting: L.A. has no picks to send back to Orlando and is limited in how many bad contracts they’d accept. Furthermore, the Magic don’t want Andrew Bynum – they want, again, cap relief and picks. That means if the Lakers want to do a deal for Howard, they have to involve a team who: 1.) wants Bynum 2.) has draft picks and some cap space.
According to multiple reports, apparently L.A. has found that team. Per Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld:
One scenario would send Howard to Los Angeles, Andrew Bynum to Cleveland and a package of picks and prospects to Orlando, according to sources.
The Lakers would land Howard, who they have been aggressively pursuing for quite some time.
The Cavaliers would acquire a second star to put alongside Kyrie Irving, one that they should be able to keep long-term since Cleveland has been mentioned as a team that Bynum will consider signing an extension with.
The Magic would acquire a number of prospects and draft picks as well as a significant amount of cap relief, which is exactly what they want in exchange for Howard. Rather than bringing in veterans who will keep the team competitive, Orlando wants to stockpile young talent and completely rebuild.
At this point, the obvious question is: can L.A. and Cleveland muster up more cap relief and picks than what Houston is offering? It doesn’t appear so. Then again, there has to be a reason why the Lakers are still in the running. The Rockets’ offer has been on the table for a few days now; if the Magic felt like that was the best option, they would’ve taken it by now.
Stay tuned, the Jeremy Lin situation is only going to make this whole mess even more complicated.