This is not going to come as welcome news to Daryl Morey and the Houston Rockets, but there is a report out there today from an Orlando TV station that Dwight Howard is very close to being traded to the Los Angeles Lakers.
David Pingalore of WKMG-TV in Orlando uses some pretty strong language in his report.
“This past week has been nothing but multiple smoke screens concerning the Dwight Howard drama. According to Pingalore’s sources, this week is all about getting Dwight Howard to Los Angeles and on the Lakers roster. Sources close to the situation believe the “The Lakers will be the end game for the Magic center”.
It has long been known that the Lakers were on Howard’s B-list, and that B-list came into play midway through the week when the Brooklyn Nets abandoned their pursuit of Howard and chose to retain Brook Lopez with a max four-year contract with $60.8 million.
Howard reportedly has lucrative incentives in his deal with adidas if he finds a way to play in one of the nation’s two largest markets — New York or Los Angeles.
More from Pingalore’s report: “Many of the stories about Howard have come from Howard’s camp and not from front office people. It is widely believed with front office people that the end game for Howard is the Lakers. That point was stressed over and over to Pingalore. The sources went as far to say “follow the money,” adding “The Lakers are a big market team that needs a player as global as Dwight Howard. Pingalore’s sources believe that this deal is in place and is set for announcement in the short term. Pingalore reported Thursday night the Houston Rockets were in play but the situation remains fluid and is changing at the moment and it’s about keeping people off base. The sources say Friday night this still is all but done. ”Some crossing of T’s and dotting of I’s is only left”.
It has been widely assumed around the league that the Rockets have a deal in place to acquire Howard, and their waiving of Luis Scola through the amnesty process was a move they needed to make to clear enough room under the cap to not only take on Howard, but several other Orlando players.
Houston has the type of assets Orlando general manager Rob Hennigan would like to acquire, including Toronto’s No. 1 pick (top-3 protected in the 2013 Draft, top-2 protected in 2014 and 2015, top-1 protected in 2016 and 2017 and unprotected in 2018) , and a future No. 1 pick from Dallas (top 20 protected through 2017, unprotected in 2018).
The Rockets also have the rights to three players picked among the top 18 in last month’s draft – Jeremy Lamb, Royce White and Terrence Jones, along with two young big men acquired from New York in the Marcus Camby trade — Josh Harrellson and Jerome Jordan.
The Lakers have no similar future assets, having surrendered two future No. 1 picks in their sign-and-trade deal for Steve Nash. But they do have the best center in the Western Conference in Andrew Bynum, whose contract (like Howard’s) expires at the conclusion of next season.