With the Brooklyn Nets soon to be, but not surprisingly, out of the Dwight Howard bidding, the Lakers have emerged as the favorite to acquire Dwight Howard from the Orlando Magic.
Like the Nets, the Lakers can appeal to the Magic’s desires by adding another team to the mix. The Houston Rockets are desperate to do something big. Houston GM Daryl Morey has been incredibly active, more so than any other team in the league on the trading front. The Rockets have swung 10 trades in the last three years. And Morey has nothing to show for it, and will be looking for a new job soon if he can’t come up with anything big I was told. Kevin McHale and his staff are already on the hot seat for the way last season went as well. He ruffled a lot of feathers and is a big reason the Rockets are tearing things apart according to sources. This is why Houston would be willing to take Andrew Bynum back in a Dwight Howard deal.
The Rockets can absorb multiple bad contracts from Orlando, they can trade any of their seven first or second year players, have an expiring contract to offer up in Kevin Martin, and can offer future picks as well.
The Lakers don’t have that kind of flexibility.
Why not just trade for Bynum if you are Orlando? Well, sources tell me the Magic just don’t want to risk a “Dwight Howard-like” scenario where Bynum arrives to Orlando on the final year of his contract, and he is pelted with questions day after day about his future, and if he is staying or going after the year. Bynum’s alleged lack of maturity could make an uncomfortable situation worse is a fear to the organization. And ultimately if he left next summer, the Magic would have gotten nothing accomplished and been set further back.
Bynum will not sign an extension. Orlando would still be able to own Bynum’s Bird rights and offer him more money and an extra after the next season than any other team. Bynum and, for what it is worth, Dwight, are in no hurry to sign extensions because under the new CBA they’d actually make less money than just becoming a free agent and resigning.
The Rockets wouldn’t mind getting Bynum, because reports are he’d be interested in resigning there and it is less of a risk for Houston than trading for Howard.
Orlando would potentially benefit more in a multi-team deal because they’d be able to discard at least one extra player/contract from their roster as they gut it and rebuild.
A deal could take a few days as Houston is in wait and see mode on restricted contract offers to Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin. The Bulls and Knicks have three days to match those offers, and that could delay a deal. Orlando is also looking to hire a coach which could draw away their attention.
Personally, I’d still rather take my chances with Bynum if I were Orlando than take the risk of getting rookies and picks that may not pan out and cap space that I may or may not be able to add anyone better than someone like Bynum in the near future.