Of course, two days could not go by without some “movement” on the Dwight Howard trade saga. He told the Magic general manager that he wants to be traded. Again.
Breaking news, right? That’s what this ongoing melodrama has become: When Howard, the all-star center, reiterates his position that he wants to be traded, it’s news – or something accepted as news.
Anyway, Howard and GM Rob Hennigan apparently met in Los Angeles, according to espn.com, on Wednesday. It was Hennigan’s “check in” meeting, which went exactly as his other “check in” meetings went with Howard – he made it clear that he wanted to be traded and that at the end of next season he would become a free agent.
This is almost like the cops coming over to a fender bender and telling the on-lookers, “OK, move on. Nothing to see here.”
Even the Los Angeles Lakers, who had been aggressively pursing Howard, seem to have centered (pun intended) their thoughts on granting their young, talented center, Andrew Bynum, a lucrative contract extension.
It’s the least they can do after offering him up in myriad deal scenarios to land Howard.
While the pace of the talks has frustrated executives and hamstrung business around the league, the Lakers seem to have found a way of remaining open to a trade for Howard while still going about their business.
Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said Wednesday he’s had “positive and productive” conversations with Bynum’s agent in recent days.
Under the terms of the new CBA, Bynum would be eligible to sign a three-year extension before the start of the season. Or he could play out this season, become an unrestricted free agent and sign for four years with another club or re-sign with the Lakers for five years.
Typically it slows down in August, but the brakes are never on,” Lakers general Kupchak said, implying a move for Howard could still happen.
The Lakers’ position on Howard has remained relatively unchanged for the past few months, league sources familiar with the situation have told ESPNLosAngeles.com. The Lakers always have been willing to trade for Howard without assurances he’d re-sign with them after the season, believing that once Howard experienced a championship culture, he would want to stay.
However, the Lakers also remain unwilling to take back contracts from Orlando that would subject them to the most punitive luxury-tax penalties of the new collective bargaining agreement, according to sources.
The Lakers also lost the ability to include future first-round draft choices after including their 2013 and 2015 first-round picks in a sign-and-trade with Phoenix for Steve Nash.