Report: Howard Willing to Extend with Lakers
According to Jarrod Rudolph of RealGM, Dwight Howard has had a change of heart and is now willing to commit long-term to the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Howard saga has carried on for months, through last season’s trade-deadline to an extended and ultimately failed effort to get him to the Brooklyn Nets earlier in July.
As options have dwindled, Dwight is now “excited” at the prospect of playing for the Lakers, according to Rudolph’s sources.
Jarrod has apparent close ties to Howard and was the first to break that Howard was not opting out of his contract last season.
Just as the Magic tried to accommodate Dwight in his quest to join the Nets, it’s still up to the Magic to make a deal.
Both are viable paths for the Magic should they finally consent to pull the trigger. Orlando has had qualms about taking back center Andrew Bynum as they embark upon the rebuilding process. Andrew is going into the final year of his deal and if he doesn’t want to extend his contract, the Magic are no better off than they would be if they kept Howard.
The Rockets recently acquired point guard Jeremy Lin and are nearing an offer sheet with Chicago big-man Omer Asik. If they get Asik, Houston’s flexibility is diminished but they still have enough young players and picks to help facilitate a deal.
Houston would prefer Howard but if he’s making it clear that if he doesn’t go to Los Angeles, he’ll walk in free agency to Atlanta or Dallas, Bynum may be a more reasonable choice (if he’s open to a long-term commitment with the Rockets).
Equally, Bynum has been linked to the Cavaliers and Kyrie Irving. He may be willing to stay long term in Cleveland and the Cavaliers have cap room and picks to help broker a three-way deal.
How this resolves still isn’t clear. The Magic are the decision-makers. Bynum, if he becomes the centerpiece of a three-way deal, can manipulate the situation to his end.
Ultimately it would be nice for all parties involved to have some kind of resolution – any kind – for a story that has dragged on for most of 2012.