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Lakers unlikely to sign and trade Dwight Howard to the Clippers, Rockets, or anyone else

Jun 16, 2013, 12:31 PM EST

Dwight Howard AP

When the reports started flying of a possible deal that would net the Clippers Kevin Garnett and head coach Doc Rivers from the Celtics, Dwight Howard‘s name got thrown in the mix at some point as someone that L.A.’s historically junior team would then like to pursue.

Talks have stalled between the Celtics and Clippers for now, but the report that the Clips have weighed offering Blake Griffin and Eric Bledsoe to the Lakers in a sign-and-trade package for Howard had plenty of people wondering where the Lakers stand on potential scenarios involving Dwight should he decide he wants out of the Forum blue and gold as a free agent after July 1.

Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com have put together a handy list of updates, some of which we’ll discuss.

Yet the Lakers also, according to sources, have not completely ruled out the idea of a sign-and-trade if they come to find next month that Howard is determined to leave. Sources say they are indeed leaning against sign-and-trade scenarios because they’d rather bank the resultant cap space from Howard’s departure for the summer of 2014. But sources say they’ve adopted a keep-all-options-open approach. So they’ll at least listen to just about anything.

Of course the Lakers will listen, but they’re highly unlikely to do anything to help Howard go somewhere else. And, especially publicly, L.A. isn’t going to put it out there that this is a course of action that they’d be fine with, because all that would do would give Howard even more choices of where to play next season somewhere other than for the Lakers.

Now, if there’s a ridiculous package on the table involving young star players who are clearly franchise cornerstones, then it becomes slightly more tempting. But it’s unclear if Griffin (and certainly Bledsoe, who’s become a bit overrated showing flashes in short stints off the bench in L.A.’s monster media market) is exactly that, and again, the Lakers want to re-sign Howard, so they’re going to shut down these conversations at a very early stage until and unless a truly amazing offer presents itself.

There’s also the unlikely prospect of the Lakers doing anything to help their Staples Center co-tenants, for a variety of reasons. But apparently, a deal with the Clippers isn’t completely out of the question.

One source with knowledge of the Lakers’ thinking said Saturday that any suggestion they could not philosophically allow themselves to make a major trade with the Clippers was “overblown.”

This goes back to that “listening” thing. You can’t ever say never, but the Lakers are the team with the banners in the building, and they’re definitely not looking to do anything that could result in a red, white and blue one being hung on the wall for the very first time.

This next one’s my personal favorite.

[S]ources say that the Rockets will certainly attempt to convince the Lakers to take in return Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin in a sign-and-trade deal for Howard, thus theoretically keeping alive the possibility that Houston could preserve its cap space to pursue Chris Paul and possibly pair Howard with Paul.

LOL, as the kids say.

Look, the Rockets are a team that has a history of acquiring assets that on the surface seem appealing before trading them away. But the Lakers aren’t a trial-and-error, experimental organization. As long as they have Kobe Bryant on the roster, it won’t be about dealing for players who might be a fit, eventually, or in the right situation. It’s about certainty and winning championships in Los Angeles, so the Lakers will not be taking on salary of borderline players when the end result could be the creation of a superteam in Houston that would be firmly in the Lakers’ way on the road to a title.

If Dwight Howard chooses to leave the Lakers, the team is most likely to let him do so without getting anything in return. They’d rather shed the salary (and the associated luxury tax penalties) and get right financially by creating salary cap space for 2014 to pursue someone who actually wants to play for one of the league’s most storied franchises.

The Lakers aren’t going to help Howard go play somewhere else, and they aren’t going to help another team build a legitimate contender. As always, the Lakers will do things their way, and it’s pretty difficult to argue against their long-term success and championship-level results.

  1. ncm42 - Jun 16, 2013 at 5:22 PM

    Blake Griffin > Dwight Howard

  2. talkingfan - Jun 16, 2013 at 5:43 PM

    I’m a LAKERS fan and was happy when they traded for him, but after this season Howard doesn’t appear to be ready for the BIG stage of LA.

    • sportsfan18 - Jun 16, 2013 at 5:59 PM

      I just don’t think he likes playing with Kobe… Kobe is too tough, too killer, too everything for Dwight, who just wants to have fun… I mean he’s still young, not exactly a kid anymore, but he hasn’t had to grow up. Is worth multi-millions and while basketball is fun and he likes it, he likes many other things and hasn’t made basketball his one and only priority, which is his choice, but teams need to know this.

      I don’t think Dwight wants to play two more years with Kobe, meaning for a total of three years. Whenever Kobe gets back on the court next year, we all have to wait and see what he has left in the tank, due to the injury and all the miles and minutes on his body…

      Then, when they don’t come close to the championship next year, I’d imagine Kobe will be quite the task master the following season (his last in the NBA if he is to be believed right now). Kobe won’t be taking any prisoners and Dwight will be right in his cross hairs…

      I don’t think Dwight stays because of this, these things, Kobe… He doesn’t have the makeup to do it.

      Imagine Dwight playing with Michael Jordan. Jordan punched Steve Kerr in the face yrs ago in a practice…

      MJ would go off on the child that is Dwight…

      • qadrir - Jun 23, 2013 at 3:20 PM

        What this writer is confused about is that who controls and owns this AKA storied franchise, the idiot need to know Dr. Buss is dead and his son owns the team and he’s not like his father. The LAKER organization will be heading south with, without D12, Kobe is no longer what he was, even with surgery he will not change his dictatorial and self ball attitude. Lakers and their kiss ass ridicule other organizations as failures disappointment. They all need to know the future for LAKERS is very dire and here’s the reality “OKC, Warriors, Rockets, & Nuggets” in the Western conference along with SPURS and a Beast and Bullies in the East as in Pacers.
        So all Lakers patsy’s go take a dose pf reality and realize your glory days are nothing but part of history.

  3. davesmall1 - Jun 16, 2013 at 7:43 PM

    I see no reason for Dwight to stay with the Lakers. They’re a team on the decline. Kobe may recover and play another year or two but he’s an aging veteran along with Pau Gasol, World Peace (or whatever he’s calling himself this month), and Steve Nash. They traded away most of their draft choices. It’s down and out for the Lakers.

    Houston has one of the NBA’s youngest superstars in James Harden. Chandler Parsons is an emerging star. Jeremy Lin is very good in the Pick and Roll which plays to Dwight’s strength. Texas has no state income tax. Playing with Omer Asik would give Dwight more freedom in the paint. Seems like a perfect match to me.

  4. paulhargis53 - Jun 16, 2013 at 7:52 PM

    Kurt, what about this provision?

    Starting in 2013-14, teams cannot receive a player in a sign-and-trade transaction (see question number 89) if their team salary is above the apron at the conclusion of the trade.

    Taking back Griffin or any other contracted max player for Howard still has them over the apron, unless they’d like to get rid of Gasol and Artest also.

    Gutting the team and having Griffin, Nash, Bledsole and Kobe coming back from an Achilles tear + a bunch of minimum salary players equals no playoffs.

    Kobes “thank you” salary has this team hamstrung.

    Lakerluver aka kb: How long you going to beat the dead horse smartphone expert line?
    The other poster made very good points. Your response is not to counterpoint, but to throw out that lame response?

    This is one of the may reasons you’re so detestable.

    • Kurt Helin - Jun 17, 2013 at 10:09 PM

      I asked Larry Coon, the CBA guy for ESPN that teams and agents turn to, before changing my post (and tweets). I misread that as meaning they could not do any S&T, too, but Coon tells me it only means they can’t get a guy back who was a free agent, but they can send out Howard.

  5. sportsnut101 - Jun 17, 2013 at 12:48 AM

    Houston doesn’t need cp3 They need howard and a pf and a better bench

    No1 is taking Lin he has 2 yrs 20 mil left on deal

    Osik I would take def he improved so much with more minutes

    Why wouldn’t lakers take Blake griffin n Bledsoe in deal for Howard. It doesn’t tie up their cap because they always over it anyway lol

  6. newyorkfootballjets - Jun 17, 2013 at 12:55 AM

    Cp3 is coming to new york knicks unless clips get help who wants amare

  7. sportsstar4u - Jun 17, 2013 at 8:07 AM

    I love the statement: “one source with knowledge of the Lakers thinking.”

    Could be anyone in the world, including me.

  8. paulhargis53 - Jun 17, 2013 at 9:44 AM

    Kurt, thanks for not posting my response to you that clearly proved my argument regarding the sign and trade restrictions.
    Uff.

    To the other dude- nba salary apron. Google it, smart guy. With the world wide web at your fingertips, there is no reason for you to look so foolish.

  9. 00maltliquor - Jun 17, 2013 at 11:37 AM

    I would effing LOVE that trade for Griffin and Bledsoe!

  10. jerdogthompson - Jun 17, 2013 at 8:46 PM

    @jhathwell

    Nice to see someone other than myself understands the “real” reason why CP3 did not go to the Lakers. Why of why Lakerluvr do you insult those of us with intelligence by suggesting a conspiracy theory.

    Do me and the rest of us a favor. Look it up, Jason Smith was the reason that deal fell through. I’m not gonna post the details they are out there. Just read and put the conspiracy theory to rest once and for all.

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