NBA PM: Dwight Howard to the Lakers?
The Dwight Howard story took another turn on Thursday as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports! writes that the Orlando Magic are in talks with the Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers and Denver Nuggets on a potential “four-way blockbuster that could ultimately deliver superstar center [Howard] to the Lakers.”
The deal, as reported by Wojnarowski, would have the Lakers not only giving up Andrew Bynum but also Pau Gasol as well as bringing back forward Al Harrington along with Howard. The Sixers would gain Bynum in exchange for Andre Iguodala, who would go to Denver. The Nuggets would send Arron Afflalo to Orlando (along with Harrington to the Lakers). The Magic would also take on Gasol’s contract along with draft picks and salary cap relief.
Multiple sources have confirmed that talks are indeed ongoing although nothing is imminent and that the Yahoo! report isn’t necessarily complete in what players are involved. Naturally, as deals are being negotiated, it can be difficult to lock in the exact parameters given how quickly they change.
The Magic have been looking to deal Howard for some time, although selectively. Initially it looked as if the Brooklyn Nets would find a package for Howard, but that died for the offseason when they re-signed free agents Brook Lopez and Kris Humphries.
The Houston Rockets have a long, long list of prospects, picks and flexible contracts to offer the Magic. It’s too early in the process to suggest Houston is out, although Howard has indicated (indirectly) that he is not open to staying with the Rockets long-term. Instead he would look to sign with the Dallas Mavericks next summer with their available cap room (presumably), which may make Bynum a more appealing target for Houston.
The Lakers haven’t had any success in two-way talks with the Magic, with very little to offer in picks. The Phoenix Suns have the Lakers’ 2013 and 2015 first-round picks as part of the Steve Nash trade. The Lakers have involved the Houston Rockets and Cleveland Cavaliers in talks, with Bynum heading to either Houston or Cleveland and Howard to Los Angeles. The Magic aren’t necessarily sold on Bynum, especially if he doesn’t come with draft considerations.
The Cavaliers may still play a part in this, armed with cap room, picks and prospects.
The addition of Philadelphia to the picture, taking on Bynum for Iguodala, is a new wrinkle and possible game-changer. Wojnarowski writes the prospective deal wasn’t agreeable with three teams until Denver entered the talks as a landing spot for Iguodala.
It’s too early to analyze a trade that hasn’t happened, but the Sixers have been looking to move on from Iguodala for some time. In the past, they have demanded a high return and Bynum would certainly be that.
The Nuggets are very fond of Afflalo, but Iguodala could be viewed as an upgrade. The Magic would view the Denver guard as a future building block while Gasol is either a piece they can hold onto or turn around in another deal. For the numbers to work, Orlando would have to move another player, expected to be Jason Richardson, who would re-route to either the Lakers or Nuggets.
Should the Rocket miss out on both Howard and Bynum, they may have interest in Gasol. While they may not give up as much to the Magic, Orlando could be looking at a solid return in a subsequent Gasol trade to Houston.
The Lakers don’t appear to be getting enough for Gasol, if the notion is that Bynum is equivalent to Howard in trade. Taking the deal on face value, if Los Angeles doesn’t truly believe in the Bynum/Gasol combination, don’t want to reinvest in Bynum who does have attitude and injury questions and have come to terms that they can’t get Howard for Bynum alone, then they’d be making the deal they can to get the best center in the league.
Getting off of Gasol’s $19+ million salary, as a third option, would help the Lakers gain flexibility and possibly piece together the right complementary pieces around Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Howard.
Naturally, there’s not enough information to know who is winning out on this proposed deal. Certainly the Lakers could stand to acquire an under-the-radar player in the day, as they did years ago in Trevor Ariza, that tips the scales in their favor.
Recently, Bryant had told media covering the Olympics that Gasol would be a Laker as long as Bryant is with the team.
Of course, Bryant is not in charge of player personnel and the Lakers have to start preparing for life after Bryant. Sources say they’re far more comfortable building around Howard than they would be around Bynum.
UPDATE: HOOPSWORLD has learned there are variations of the rumored deal being discussed that does not include Gasol but have a similar structure with Bynum to Philadelphia, Iguodala to Denver, Howard to Los Angeles and Afflalo to Orlando. It’s unclear if Harrington is in that scenario. Additionally the Lakers are said to have Josh McRoberts and Devin Ebanks (via sign and trade) as outgoing salary for a Howard deal.
C.J. Miles to Cavs, Laker Sitting on Mini-MLE?
C.J. Miles recently signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers after sources close to Miles indicated that he was also in discussions with the Los Angeles Lakers. While he’ll have an opportunity to fight for a starting job, Miles may come off the bench behind Dion Waiters and, if re-signed, Alonzo Gee.
The Lakers have been exploring a number of options to fill out their bench, but have been hesitant to commit to a move with the Howard discussion in play.
To date Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak has indicated he’s reluctant to spend the team’s mini mid-level exception of $3.09 million. That appeared to be true in this case as the Cavaliers inked Miles to a two-year, $4.45 million contract (starting at $2.225 million) with the second year either non-guaranteed or partially-guaranteed.
Los Angeles could have given Miles a bigger deal via their mini-MLE.
Even with Miles, the Cavaliers have about $11.6 million in cap although that can climb if they cut some of their non-guaranteed players like Daniel Gibson ($2.3 million guaranteed), Samardo Samuels, Donald Sloan, Jon Leuer (who the team just claimed off waivers) and withdraw their offer sheet to Alonzo Gee.
Barring a big pre-season or mid-season deal, Cleveland may instead hold onto their cap space for next year.
Trade Exceptions: Size or Length?
The Los Angeles Clippers executed a sign-and-trade for Willie Green in July that brought in the veteran guard via a trade exception (TPE). Green agreed to a deal starting at $1.375 million, totaling $4.2 million over three years (but only the first season is fully guaranteed).
In making the trade, the Clippers had to choose which TPE to use. The $1.2 million TPE from the Brian Cook trade (Washington Wizards) wasn’t enough but the team had two more to pick from. From the Chris Paul trade with the New Orleans Hornets, L.A. had the Al-Farouq Aminu TPE worth $2.76 million with an expiration date of December 14, 2012. The Clippers also dealt Reggie Evans to the Brooklyn Nets, generating a TPE of $1.62 million that won’t expire until July 11, 2013.
All things being equal, it makes more sense to use the Evans exception since the Aminu TPE can yield more in return. Then again if the Clippers didn’t believe they’d find a player worth attaining by mid-December, it would go to waste.
Given the depth L.A. has put together this offseason, including the acquisitions of Lamar Odom, Jamal Crawford, Grant Hill, Ryan Hollins, Ronny Turiaf and Green (along with the re-signing of Chauncey Billups), the team chose to use the Aminu exception and hold onto the smaller Evans TPE.
The team still has $1.39 million left on the Aminu TPE, which is less likely to be used. The Evans TPE, though smaller, is more valuable long-term. The Clippers can try to use it around the trade deadline, NBA Draft or even a day or two beyond the July moratorium to make a deal before it expires. Additionally, the Cook TPE runs out on March 15, 2013.
Pierre Jackson, the Baylor Veteran
HOOPSWORLD caught up with Baylor point guard Pierre Jackson at adidas Nations. The team has gone through a lot of changeover with Perry Jones III, Quincy Miller and Quincy Acy leaving for the NBA. The younger players coming in will look to Jackson to help lead the Bears this upcoming season.
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