At this point, it appears as though if Dwight Howard goes anywhere, it will either be to the Brooklyn Nets or Los Angeles Lakers.
Who will ultimately get him? Well, there are varying reports on that.
A couple of weeks ago, the Nets appeared to be clear-cut favorites to land Howard. They were the only team that he said he would sign an extension with, and they (in theory) could put together a nice little package of Brook Lopez and an assortment of spare parts.
Then it came out that Orlando Magic management wasn’t particularly enthralled with Brooklyn’s spare parts, and that they would rather do business with the Lakers.
Over the next couple of weeks, rumors began to surface that L.A. management was finally warming up to the idea of doing an Andrew Bynum-for-Howard swap. Just a Bynum-for-Howard swap, though. Barring Howard agreeing to re-up with the team beforehand, Jim Buss and Co. weren’t keen on absorbing Orlando’s bad salaries and jumping through whatever other hoops were necessary to make this deal happen.
That, for obvious reasons, cooled a potential Lakers-Magic deal – giving Brooklyn a chance to sneak back into discussions. Now they (Brooklyn management) are working on bringing in a third team in an effort to sweeten the pot for Orlando. Via Ken Berger of CBS Sports:
The Nets are progressing with plans to recruit a third team to absorb salary in a blockbuster trade proposal that would send Dwight Howard to Brooklyn, league sources told CBSSports.com Sunday.
A key component of the proposed deal with Orlando would be finding a third team to take the Nets' Kris Humphries in a sign-and-trade arrangement. Cleveland has emerged as a “possible destination” for Humphries in such a scenario, in which the Nets would attempt to accumulate at least three first-round picks to send to the Magic in their package for Howard, one of the sources said.
So that’s the Nets' side of things. They’re working on improving their proposal. What about the Lakers?
Well, the Lakers have come to something of a standstill. Apparently, Bynum -- who was once rumored to be cool with the prospect of becoming the Magic’s centerpiece -- is making it clear that he won’t re-up with Orlando if a trade happens. That means the Magic would have to pull the trigger on a deal knowing that Bynum could ditch them a la Shaquille O’Neal and soon enough, Howard.
As noted by Adrian Wojnarowski:
Bynum has shown no inclination to agree to an immediate extension if sent to Orlando as part of a Dwight Howard package, sources tell Y!— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 8, 2012
According to multiple reports, the Magic are nearing a deal. A lot of folks expect a transaction to get finalized early this week.
It looks like Brooklyn will get Howard.
Is it for real this time? We’ll find out soon enough.
(Kudos CBS Sports, Adrian Wojnarowski)