You didn’t expect the Dwight Howard rumors to just go away, did you?
After the Orlando Magic were unable to reach agreement with the Brooklyn Nets – Howard’s preferred destination – the Houston Rockets emerged as a possible landing spot for the superstar center.
Rockets GM Daryl Morey has spent the offseason clearing salary cap space and acquiring young players and draft picks to put together a potential package that Magic GM Rob Hennigan would find desirable. Tuesday night’s acquisition of basketball phenomenon Jeremy Lin only strengthened Morey’s position.
But despite the wheeling and dealing, nothing close to a deal between the Rockets and Magic has been reported.
So the focus has shifted further west – to Los Angeles, where Hennigan recently met with Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak in what was reported to be merely a “getting to know each other” conversation.
ESPN’s Ric Bucher is reporting Wednesday that there are early talks of a three-team deal in which the Cleveland Cavaliers have replaced the Rockets and Howard would land with the Lakers.
According to the report, the Magic would ship Howard to the Lakers, who would move All-Star center Andrew Bynum to the Cavaliers, who would send Anderson Varejao and a package of draft picks to the Magic.
Bucher’s report cautioned that the particulars are merely a framework and the discussions are in the very early stages.
Cleveland owes no draft picks and also holds the lottery-protected 2013 first-round picks of Miami, Sacramento and the Lakers; a 2015 first-round pick of Miami; and the 2013 and 2014 second-round picks of Orlando.
Ironically, it was the Cavaliers who helped scuttle Howard’s attempt to bully his way to Brooklyn. The Nets were looking for teams with cap room that would take on a signed-and-traded Kris Humphries for a trade exception, creating the space needed to add Howard.
But Humphries was looking for a multi-year contract, and the Cavs were only willing to go for a one-year deal. The former Mr. Kardashian eventually signed a two-year, $24 million contract with the Nets, who cannot logisitically deal for Howard until Jan. 15, when players signed this summer are eligible to be traded.