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Report: Howard won’t sign extension with Lakers, but they are not out of it

Feb 29, 2012, 12:41 PM EDT

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It’s all about the money. And it’s not necessarily as big a deal as Lakers fans think. But it might give the Lakers front office pause.

Lakers radio play-by-play man (and long-time Los Angeles sports personality) John Ireland reported on Tuesday that Dwight Howard’s agent Donald Fegan told the Lakers his client will not sign an extension if traded to the Lakers.

That makes trading for Howard more risky for the Lakers — if he will not sign an extension upon arrival he could play for the team the rest of this season and then opt out of the last year of his deal and bolt for New Jersey or Dallas (or wherever his heart chooses).

That does have to give the Lakers pause. But it’s not as big a deal as some make it out to be.

First, the Lakers could ask Howard to do what Chris Paul agreed to do with the Clippers when he was traded there — take his player option for next season off the table and opt in. Howard would then make $19.5 million next year.

Howard is not signing an extension immediately wherever he is traded for financial reasons. Here is a comment from ESPN’s cap guru Larry Coon in an email to PBT:

An extension is a problem. An extend-and-trade only allows three years (including the current years on his contract) and 4.5% raises, and any extension that occurs within six months of a trade is treated like an extend-and-trade. If he was traded to the Lakers and subsequently extended, he could add on only one new year, with a 4.5% raise. If he was traded on, say, March 15, he could lock-in the additional year (on his existing deal), then sign an extension after September 15 that allowed for three new years and 7.5% raises.

Remember, under the terms of the new CBA, there is no sign-and-trade like Carmelo Anthony got — if the Lakers (or Nets) did a sign-and-trade Howard could only get the three years and smaller raises.

However, after a trade the Lakers would have Howard’s hometown “Bird rights” which means that if he was traded to them, opted out of his contract them re-signed with them they could offer the extra year and $30 million over the life of the deal that only the Magic can offer now.

If the Lakers are insistent that Howard sign an extension, either now or Sept. 15, and he refuses to agree to that, the Lakers have a much bigger risk to take in getting him now. But the ideal scenario might be to get him to take on that existing year then they have a few months (and maybe a deep playoff run) to convince him to sign that extension in September.

Jerry Buss has always been a gambler. If the Lakers could make a deal with Orlando — and that is a massive, massive “if” bordering on very unlikely when you hear the people in Orlando talk — he might be willing to bet he could convince Howard to stay. But is Jim Buss willing to make that same gamble?

  1. jobotjones - Feb 29, 2012 at 12:54 PM

    Why wouldn’t he want to play with Kobe? He has proven the ability to win with an all-star center before, unlike some of the other options.

    • hwatt - Feb 29, 2012 at 1:06 PM

      because kobe is on his way out in a few years, and the owner is spreading distrust and dysfunction throughout the organization. Howard probably wants to go to a place where another star will be there for the long haul, and nothing beats NJ on that front.

      • bozosforall - Feb 29, 2012 at 2:12 PM

        Distrust and dysfunction? That means that DH will never be a Celtic, since their movement of Perkins last season totally screwed them over on that front.

      • jimeejohnson - Feb 29, 2012 at 8:51 PM

        The Celtics swept away the Knicks on Easter Sunday, burying New York for the second time in a row at Madison Square Garden to close out the teams’ Round One matchup in 2011. That was AFTER they traded Perkins. Knick fans should focus on their own team. Let the Knicks beat Celtics when it counts.

  2. gentbaseball12 - Feb 29, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    Howard has an ETO, meaning he will be under contract next season unless he affirmatively opts out. His situation is somewhat different than Chris Paul, who had a player option for 12-13, meaning that Paul was going to be a free agent regardless of whether he took an affirmative step. So, if Dwight gets traded, the team will have him under contract for this season and next as long as the team can convince him not to exercise his ETO. He could conceivably decide to stay with ORL for one more season and not have to sign a new contract and then hit free agency following 12-13.

    • lakerdownunder - Feb 29, 2012 at 5:27 PM

      Why would anyone give this a “thumbs down”???? It’s purely a very well informed summary of his situation.

  3. therealhtj - Feb 29, 2012 at 1:10 PM

    If the Magic are willing to take Bynum and his undependable knees for Dwight Howard straight up, extension or not, the Lakers would be out of their minds to not make that trade without hesitation.

    If Dwight bolts LA to go to Dallas or Brooklyn, for less money, smaller raises, and one fewer year, he should fire his agent.

  4. doctorfootball - Feb 29, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    How is this not as big a deal as most people say it is, Mr. Kelin? You’re scenario hinges on Howard opting in for next season. It doesn’t appear that Howard is willing to do that. So he becomes a free agent, and the Lakers lose everything they gave up for Howard and Howard himself. That’s a huge deal. Your whole scenario hinges on an “if” and a HUGE one at that. Kobe’s career as a top player will come to an end in a year or two. And all the minutes Kobe is playing this season is going to come back to bite him in the playoffs. Howard is better off staying in Orlando or going elsewhere. The Lakers are going to have to rebuild again soon.

    • ludachrisgsx - Feb 29, 2012 at 6:10 PM

      Wouldn’t that be what Howard wants? I’ve heard that Howard doesn’t want to be the 2nd option to Kobe… and yet, he also doesn’t want a declining Kobe? Which is it? He has to know that if he goes to the Lakers he’ll be the new face of the franchise, if not right away, then in a year or two for sure. And once Kobe slows down and is no longer an All Star player, the Lakers will do what they’ve always done – find pieces to surround their new star, Howard.

      I don’t see why the Lakers wouldn’t be just as good an option as the Nets, knowing that they could also possibly land Williams a year or two down the road if they put some effort into reducing their cap space. And if they can’t land Williams, they’ll have more cap space come 2014, and will have a good chance at landing another quality PG. As far as being contenders, I don’t see the Nets being any better off after trading for Howard than the Lakers would be. It would take both teams a couple years to recover from what they gave up to put more pieces around Howard. The only difference is that he gets an elite PG right off the bat instead of waiting a year or two for one.

  5. palakerfan - Feb 29, 2012 at 1:32 PM

    It’s apparent that Dwight prefers Brooklyn. He wants to blaze his own path rather than following the great lineage of Laker big men. That’s fine. Just please drop the act that winning is most important, cause if it was LAL is the best choice now and in the future with their unlimited resources to get players.

    I just hope the Lakers don’t hold out all hope for Dwight and not improve in other ways.

  6. bozosforall - Feb 29, 2012 at 2:11 PM

    The Lakers just need to get a decent PG and then tell DH to go screw himself.

  7. doctorfootball - Feb 29, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    Have the Lakers won the last 30 NBA titles? No. There are other places to win besides the lakers. Your argument holds no merit.

    • stadix093 - Feb 29, 2012 at 2:54 PM

      Well if you take his list and stack up chips from just the Lakers vs all other teams COMBINED on his list over the last 10 years, who would have more? I think you can say the argument has a little merit. I just think the Lakers have shown a better history of restocking the weapons, not saying this will always happen because I can’t see the future, but history shouldn’t be ignored ya know?

    • dixx8ball - Feb 29, 2012 at 3:48 PM

      can you say there are no other places to go to win no… however can you name a place that has a history of winning better then LA… not just in the long ago past as the Minneapolis Lakers but all through the Magic era and now Kobe era…. since 2000 7 trips to the finals with 5 Championships, in the playoffs every year but 1… who is better then that….they have proven to put one of the best teams on the court every year.. and they have also proven over the years to cater to their stud players and get what they think they need to win… so Dwight wouldn’t be the supreme feature guy at first, Kobe only has 3 or 4 years at the most left in him then Dwight owns LA…I can’t understand how being the best center in the NBA it wouldn’t be cool as hell to follow in the footsteps of 3 of the best centers to ever play the game(Wilt, Kareem, Shaq) and win in LA

      • geeq3 - Feb 29, 2012 at 5:47 PM

        Don’t forget Mr. Basketball, George Mikan. Nothing wrong with adding his likeness to that Mount Rushmore of centers.

      • gametight78 - Feb 29, 2012 at 6:53 PM

        Why would u want to play with a person who is on the decline in the west that is known to have problems with big men and want the spot light for themselves. When you can play with a top 3 pg in NJ in a new arena and a fresh start. Deron and howard would make a deeper run in playoffs then kobe and howard. Kobe does not and has never trusted his team mates he shoots 1st passes later. Even if he is doubled and fading away from the 3point line and there is a wide open ron artest under the basket who catches his air ball and scores to make them the win in the finals. La needs a pg not howard and kobe. If howard goes to nets they become 3 seed easy.

    • cinnalocks - Feb 29, 2012 at 5:47 PM

      @ doctorfootball, Since 1972 the L.A. Lakers have won 10 World Titles, TEN. Boston 5, Chicago 6 and then there are the others. So no they have not won the last thirty just twice as many as the closet competition, which is a phantom rivalry in Boston.

      Los Angeles has been dominate in the ELITE of the N.B.A. Now when you consider the weather, amount of free publicity of the glamour city, the endorsements, the commercials, not to mention playing with Kobe for a couple of years while it becomes his team ……There is no better place.

      “That said I do not think they need Dwight. They need a young break down the defense, pass first, point guard, who can score and play defense.”

    • ludachrisgsx - Feb 29, 2012 at 6:17 PM

      No, they haven’t won the last 30 NBA titles. But in the last 30 years, which team has won the most titles? ;)

  8. AJRisher77 - Feb 29, 2012 at 7:07 PM

    After seeing reports of Lakers management being upset with Kobe over his own pursuit of Dwight, the Lakers should think about offering Kobe for Dwight. It sounds crazy but Orlando has said that want established vets, and they would still have Gasol and Bynum to do whatever they want with (Deron Williams trade). I am not a Lakers fan, but this is a business, pairing Dwight and Deron seems like it would be in their best interest with or without Kobe.

  9. losangelasbasketball - Feb 29, 2012 at 7:28 PM

    Should trade kobe and mike brown for howard and van gundy imo….

  10. jimeejohnson - Feb 29, 2012 at 9:00 PM

    Lebron James, Kevin Durant, and Howard in the front court at the upcoming London Olympics makes the competition look like fish and chips!

  11. fatbaby81 - Feb 29, 2012 at 11:09 PM

    To bad he cant goto Chicago to play with D-rose. but i would love to see him in Detroitttttt.

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