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Warriors are reportedly trying to dump contracts to create enough cap space to sign Dwight Howard

Jul 4, 2013, 7:37 PM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers Dwight Howard reaches for a rebound next to Golden State Warriors Festus Ezeli during their NBA basketball game in Oakland

When the report surfaced that the Golden State Warriors had made “a real impression” on Dwight Howard during their free agent meeting with the prized big man earlier this week, and had a legitimate chance of landing him, it honestly seemed laughable at best.

The reason, of course, was that given the Warriors’ salary cap situation, there’s no way they’d be able to sign Howard to a max contract without the Lakers helping them by engaging in a sign-and-trade deal, which seemed unlikely given L.A.’s preference to sign Howard themselves.

The Warriors, clearly encouraged by their meeting with Howard and whatever information they’ve received since about his leanings, aren’t waiting around for the Lakers to help them in their quest. The team has already begun the process of trying to unload contracts to create enough salary cap space to sign Howard outright, should he ultimately decide that playing in the Bay area is where his future lies.

From Brian Windhorst and Marc Stein of ESPN.com:

The Golden State Warriors, increasingly convinced they have a legitimate shot at winning the Dwight Howard sweepstakes, have begun aggressively attempting to trade away players to clear the requisite salary-cap space to sign the All-Star center, according to sources with knowledge of the team’s thinking.

… sources say that the Warriors, in an effort to manufacture some financial flexibility to help their chances, have begun calling teams with salary-cap space to try to entice them to take expiring contracts off their books so they can clear a $20 million hole for Howard.

Such a scenario would be challenging, some executives have said, but not impossible. The Warriors have three huge expiring contracts in Andrew Bogut ($14 million), Richard Jefferson ($11 million) and Andris Biedrins ($9 million). According to sources, they have tried to offload all three players this week to cap-room teams.

It would be a longshot to see the Warriors unload three different contracts like that without taking salary back, but as the report says, it isn’t impossible.

What this speaks to more than anything is the fact that the Lakers are not going to do anything to facilitate Howard leaving them to play somewhere else. As has been reported over and over, L.A. would rather let Howard walk than help him get to another team of his choosing, especially one in the same division or even in the Western Conference.

The Warriors, meanwhile, would likely have to include some assets in order for teams to take these expiring deals off of their hands. Harrison Barnes and Klay Thompson are the names that have come up in mythical sign-and-trade scenarios with the Lakers, and one or both of those players would likely need to be sent out of town in order for Golden State to be able to convince another team to help them pave the way for Howard’s arrival.

  1. dirtydavis - Jul 4, 2013 at 7:46 PM

    Pffft!!! Yea right

  2. rohlo - Jul 4, 2013 at 7:49 PM

    this would be stupid… howard isnt gonna sign outright with them and take one less year and lose 30 million dollars and pay the same califonia tax rate as he would with the lakers!! only reason he would sign a deal for 4 instead of 5 years and take the extra 30 mil off the table is to go to texas – houston or dallas with the no state tax in texas.. just seems liek a backwards move for dwight in my opinion..the warriors are good dont get me wrong,but to take one less year and lose 30 mil to stay in cali and pay those same taxes that he could pay on a 5 year deal with the LAL is not a smart finacial decision..

    • silverandblackfan77 - Jul 4, 2013 at 7:55 PM

      So no one will pay him in 5 years if he signs a 4 year contract?

      • ron05342 - Jul 4, 2013 at 8:08 PM

        It’s a roll of the dice that he doesn’t get a career-ending injury; he would be blowing off $30 million.

        Then again, how much is too much? He still would be guaranteed $78 million over 4 years. How many mansions can one man enjoy?

        You can argue finances and state income tax all you want, rohlo, but if Howard thinks about it, he can live off of $7.8 million less for the four year period. At least, I think over $70 might just be enough for him to enjoy life over 4 years. Let the federal government and California do their work on his pocketbook and he is still left with about $32 million over 4 years…in Texas, he would have about $3 million more than that.

        Not a lot of difference at all when you think about it; besides, he still would have endorsement deals, etc. If Howard is thinking about the big picture, then I am sure he would be fine with a paltry $8 million NET per year.

    • thejoker44 - Jul 4, 2013 at 8:53 PM

      The biggest myth in the NBA these days centers around the money free agent Dwight Howard supposedly would lose if he signs with a team other than the Los Angeles Lakers. It’s a myth repeated over and over again by “SportsCenter” anchors and sports talk radio hosts.

      The statement goes like this: “Dwight Howard would leave $30 million on the table if he leaves the Lakers.”

      It’s only partially accurate.

      ——————————————————————————–
      Photos: World’s most photogenic athletes
      ——————————————————————————–

      The Lakers are the only team, under the rules of the collective bargaining agreement, that is permitted to offer him a five-year deal with 7.5 percent annual raises. That deal would pay Howard about $119 million over five seasons.

      Any other team may offer him a four-year deal with 4.5 percent annual raises. That deal would pay Howard about $88 million over four seasons.

      But that doesn’t mean Howard would be leaving $30 million on the table.

      Here’s a detailed breakdown of how Howard’s salary would be distributed if he remains with the Lakers or if he goes to another team:

      As you can see, in Season One, Howard won’t lose a penny if he goes to a new team. In Season Two, he’d be paid $615,395 less in salary by a new team. In Season Three, he’d be paid $1.3 million less by a new team. In Season Four, he’d be paid $2.1 million less by a new team.

      So, the majority of that supposed $30 million difference comes from the fifth-year salary Howard would receive from the Lakers; that season, Howard would be paid $27.4 million.

      But, four years from now, Howard will be only 31 years old. Barring injury and an unexpected decline in his on-court skills, he will be able to sign a new maximum-salary deal, and that new deal would make up for the salary he’d lose in the next four seasons by leaving the Lakers.

      Also, don’t discount the lack of a state income tax in Texas and the high state income tax rate in California, and that’s an advantage for the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks in their pursuit of Howard, as noted here.

      Lost amid all of this is another fact.

      If Howard re-signs with the Lakers, his new deal will almost certainly include language that will allow him to become a free agent after four seasons.

      If he signs with a new team, his new deal will almost certainly include language that will allow him to become a free agent after three seasons.

      This is the leverage Howard will have: leverage that could compel his team to do what he wants the team to do. If the team takes a turn — personnel-wise, coaching-wise — that Howard dislikes, he can become a free agent one year earlier than the maximum length of the deal.

      In the end, I think Howard’s final decision will have nothing to do with money

      • anhdazman - Jul 5, 2013 at 11:56 AM

        Excellent breakdown! Thank you for sharing, that does clear up a lot of things.

    • drudefoe - Jul 4, 2013 at 9:15 PM

      If it was ‘only’ about finances he would’ve made his decision 2 re-sign with the Lakers by now.. Everybody knows that’s not only what it’s about,, he’s MOST concerned with winning,, and that’s something the Warriors have over the Lakers both now and in the near future..!

    • JHathwell - Jul 4, 2013 at 9:21 PM

      A) The Howard camp has already said the state tax thing isn’t a factor in their decision.

      B) Golden State was better than Houston, Dallas or LA last year, and their roster is already set to compliment Howard better than those other teams.

      C) Mark Jackson and Dwight Howard seems like a match made in heaven to me. Two peas in a pod and whatnot.

      • qadrir - Jul 4, 2013 at 9:45 PM

        Some nut job must be advising D12 or Warriors have gone completely insane. I think they are picking rose leaves he loves me, he loves me not.

        Right Now “He Loves Me” = 100 “Love me Not” = 80 . Of all three NBA franchises it seems Clippers are looking like the smart cats. They locked up CP3, got their coach DOC. Instead of playing D12 lottery.

      • qadrir - Jul 4, 2013 at 9:48 PM

        No his camp never said it’s not about the money. Even D12 who ultimately
        will make the decision never mentioned money. So stop spreading disinformation. His advisers and himself will consider Championship aspirations, money and career longevity. At the end of the day it will come down to two teams. He wither stay as a Laker or go to Houston.

      • JHathwell - Jul 4, 2013 at 10:12 PM

        If you say so, buddy.

    • qadrir - Jul 4, 2013 at 9:44 PM

      Some nut job must be advising D12 or Warriors have gone completely insane. I think they are picking rose leaves he loves me, he loves me not.

      Right Now “He Loves Me” = 100 “Love me Not” = 80 . Of all three NBA franchises it seems Clippers are looking like the smart cats. They locked up CP3, got their coach DOC. Instead of playing D12 lottery.

  3. bellerophon30 - Jul 4, 2013 at 7:50 PM

    No one is going to take Jefferson or Biedrins. Bogut…….maybe, if a couple of first round picks go along with him.

    Again, maybe.

    • biasedhomer - Jul 4, 2013 at 8:10 PM

      I could see a team take on Jefferson or Biedrins if it came along with Klay Thompson.

      • bellerophon30 - Jul 4, 2013 at 8:33 PM

        That’s a lot of cap room said team would have. Calling Cleveland maybe?

        Again, probably not going to happen. But until Dwight signs on the dotted line…….not decides, it is Dwight after all, but SIGNS, then we’ll all be throwing out scenarios like this and speculating.

        Part of the fun. To be renewed next summer when LeBron takes his talents to wherever he takes his talents to.

  4. silverandblackfan77 - Jul 4, 2013 at 7:54 PM

    You cant get rid of both Barnes AND Klay then they lose all their attractions, Jefferson has one of the worst contracts in the league

    • apkyletexas - Jul 4, 2013 at 9:23 PM

      If it were my money, Klay would be absolutely untouchable unless he proves himself otherwise in a year or two. I thought Barnes was a bit over-hyped – his play is erratic. But Klay is incredible and should not be moved under any circumstances.

      Bogut and Biedrins are completely unnecessary if they sign a capable center, and Jefferson is nothing but a massively overpaid expiring contract trade-piece at this point. If Dallas loses out on the Howard sweepstakes, Cuban might love to pick up a couple of those garbage contracts in order to have maximum cap flexibility next year when he re-signs Dirk at a much lower price.

  5. baymac408 - Jul 4, 2013 at 8:04 PM

    Please don’t! I really would love and I mean LOVE to see Biedrins and Jeffersons contracts go… They are so overpaid! That’s a big understatement.. But to bring in Dwight although he is a great player when he ants to be, is to much of a Diva and wants to much attention.. Causing attention is one thing but wanting it is all BAD! PLEASE no more talks of Klay and Barnes

  6. ProBasketballPundit - Jul 4, 2013 at 8:08 PM

    If the Dubs trade Klay I’ll be heartbroken. Remember when Mark Jackson called his backcourt the best shooting backcourt in the history of the NBA and we all had to scratch our heads to think of a better shooting duo? Dwightmare isn’t worth it!

    • biasedhomer - Jul 4, 2013 at 8:18 PM

      We don’t have to scratch our heads for a better shooting duo.

      Right off the bat, you have Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.

      And of course, all time would be Hornacek and Stockton, and its not even close. Both had over 50% FG and Stockton was shooting .420+ from the 3, which is about what Thompson’s FG% is at.

      • casualcommenter - Jul 5, 2013 at 1:26 AM

        Half agreed.

        Hornacek and Stockton was one of the most popular responses to people trying to name a better shooting duo. The only counter-argument is that Thompson and Curry shot far more threes this season than that duo ever did in a season.

        As for Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili – Tony Parker is an elite jump shooter NOW but wasn’t earlier in his career. Manu’s been an elite shooter for longer, but recently he has been on the decline. The 2012 version of Tony Parker + 2009 version of Manu Ginobili would have been one of the best shooting backcourts ever.

  7. ji8888 - Jul 4, 2013 at 8:14 PM

    Golden St bobbing for apples at its finest!

  8. sportsnut101 - Jul 4, 2013 at 9:18 PM

    Everyone says he’s loosing 30 mil. But he’s really not. He will get another max contract in 4 yrs

    Also I hear he has a few baby moms not Sure living in Cali is best option for him anyway highest tax in the states

    If warriors get to keep Klay n curry I’m fine with that trade barnes bogut plus 1st rd pick.

    Lakers want cap relief for next yr so here’s 3 expiring deals for 1 yr. or just take Bogut who can play as u seen in playoffs

    Or maybe Ron artist who they wanna trade anyway n d12 for Barnes Bogut n 1st rd pick n Richard jefferson so like a win win for everyone. Lakers are not gonna get any star for gasol who just had knee surgery. Don’t mess this up brother buss

    • anhdazman - Jul 5, 2013 at 12:00 PM

      I don’t want nothing to do with MWP, he’s old, slow and a 9th or 10th man on this GSW roster. Waste of money.

  9. aaagary123 - Jul 4, 2013 at 9:39 PM

    For sure G.S. has lots of promising young players. The concern for the future is can they keep them all anyways? So giving up Thompson or Barnes is something they’re going to have to address at some point anyways.

    Tough call because the Curry, Barnes, Thompson combination can be really good for a long time. But maybe not enough without any big men. Lee could also be gone soon. Plus if those 3 in time all have the contracts they deserve then there will be no room for any all-star type of big man on the team.

    You know Bogut’s health is a real big issue here. Because if he was 100% in that department the guy is not that far off from being Howard’s equal. The guy was playing awesome for the Bucks before his elbow injury and others that have followed. But it might be time to give up on him? Or maybe not?

  10. sportsnut101 - Jul 4, 2013 at 9:40 PM

    If I was a team with cap room n knew I wasn’t going nowhere. Aka hawks I would take a bad contract for 1 yr ifmu put 1st rd pick

  11. allen227 - Jul 4, 2013 at 9:54 PM

    Why are all these teams trying so hard to get this overpaid and overrated ego-maniac? How about this win something first then demand all this. He’ll Never be a top notch big man.

    • kinggw - Jul 4, 2013 at 9:59 PM

      Howard may be a mental midget, but he’s clearly the best center in the league and its not close. Are you another bitter Lakers fan trying to soften the blow of Howard leaving by telling yourself he wasn’t that good in the first place?

    • giantsninerswarriors - Jul 5, 2013 at 2:54 AM

      “He’ll Never be a top notch big man”.

      You’re off-base if you really think that D12 isn’t top-notch; he is one of only a handful of truly dominant centers in the NBA. Having said that, he is a massive pain in the ass and I seriously question his ability to stay healthy. But saying that D12 isn’t a good big is, to put it mildly, completely absurd.

  12. blakegriffin32 - Jul 4, 2013 at 10:08 PM

    Stay away!!!

  13. baymac408 - Jul 4, 2013 at 10:21 PM

    Tony Parker, and Ginobli? You are on a good one buddy! Ginobli is so streaky it looks like they wiped him down with fake windex! Cut it out guy

  14. bparmalee - Jul 4, 2013 at 10:23 PM

    Dwight Howard isn’t happy just blowing up the Lakers and Magic…. he wants to flirt with the Warriors to make them make bad trades so he can say…. “Just kidding suckers… thanks for playing!!!”. Teams have to know by now that Howard can’t be trusted…. ask the Nets. The Rockets have already made one sided trades also so they could try to get Howard. He just wants to feed his ego…. he knows where he is going.

    • anhdazman - Jul 5, 2013 at 12:01 PM

      This is the 2nd year in a row the Rockets are plurging their roster in hopes of getting DH12.

  15. andyreidisfat - Jul 4, 2013 at 11:42 PM

    “Howard may be a mental midget, but he’s clearly the best center in the league and its not close. Are you another bitter Lakers fan trying to soften the blow of Howard leaving by telling yourself he wasn’t that good in the first place?”.

    He’s “clearly” the best? I think based on performance overall effect on a team, I could say Lopez and Hilbert are both better than Howard. And while just in what he can do personally Howard is still better, but I think I would gladly take a guy like Davis over Howard as a building block to my

  16. andyreidisfat - Jul 4, 2013 at 11:52 PM

    “Howard may be a mental midget, but he’s clearly the best center in the league and its not close. Are you another bitter Lakers fan trying to soften the blow of Howard leaving by telling yourself he wasn’t that good in the first place?”.

    He’s “clearly” the best? I think based on performance overall effect on a team, I could say Lopez and Hilbert are both better than Howard. And while just in what he can do personally Howard is still better, but I think I would gladly take a guy like Davis over Howard as a building block to my team.

    the Lakers were a playoff type team before the Howard deal and luck to make the playoff after it. In fact with Kobe on the sidelines Howard had a chance with a decent cast to show he is true superstar and the guy wiffed. He scored a big 6 points in an elimination game that looked like Howard “clearly” checked out of from the jump.

    So you think its “clear” he is the best ????? I think its clear he is overhyped and overrated. The guy no matter how many summers he spends with the great hakim can not learn a post move to save his life. He can’t shoot from outside the lane. His foul shots… well he is a center so we will forget that.. he is a good defender when he wants to play, but that last time it seemed he cared was about 4 years ago.

    Guys I’d take over Howard.

    Jefferson
    Hilbert
    Lopez
    Davis

    Funny how Howard will make more than these 4 while these 4 continue to be more important and better team players.

    I hope this bum stays in LA as a proud Lakers hater and mixers fan. I don’t want to see this loser kill what either Houston or GS are building. The nba needs new top teams to start to show up and these are two of the teams who can do it, but Howard would ruin all that by having coaches fired and players traded all so a guy with basketball talent can be the number option.

    • badintent - Jul 5, 2013 at 12:29 AM

      I’d add Chandler to that list. He brings it every night and has the shiny new hardware Best defensive Player of the Year to prove it !

  17. itsonlyaspeedbump - Jul 5, 2013 at 12:20 AM

    Warriors fan here.

    A lot of people make the mistake with Howard where since they don’t like him, they then go on and say that he isn’t any good. They do the same with Lebron, and to a lesser extent with guys like Kobe.

    But the stat guys and the people who actually study basketball (i.e not the talking media heads on ESPN) all say that Howard was the only thing last year that kept the Lakers defense from being worse than it was. Other than his atrocious free-throw shooting, offensively he was pretty good last year too, despite injuries (His season stats were only a little below his career stats, and that was with playing with 3 other all-stars). But you know Kobe wasn’t going to get ANY blame for what went wrong last year in Lakerland, so that left the biggest other name on the team to take the fall–Howard (and to LA fans, coach D).

    Saying all that, I still don’t want him anywhere near the Dubs. He’d be an upgrade over Bogut, but not a significant one. And to have to get rid of valuable pieces of a young core for a minor upgrade AND deal with all the BS Howard brings to the table–nah, I’ll pass.

    Hopefully Warriors management doesn’t clear out a bunch of contracts and then end up still not getting Howard. That is what all us Dubs fans should fear.

    • anhdazman - Jul 5, 2013 at 12:04 PM

      Another GSW fan who absolutely agrees with you.

      Bogut and Lee will be great together. I rather have those blue collar worker type of players that might be less talented than DH12, but will work they butts off for their team, team mates and head coach. They play for each other.

      Not for me, myself and I.

  18. rushbacker - Jul 5, 2013 at 1:24 AM

    What the hell are they thinking? Give up two exciting young talents on rookie deals (plus picks, most likely) for the right to sign an older big with a history of back problems and serious immaturity to a max deal? And it doesn’t look like they’ll be able to bring back Carl Landry or Jarrett Jack, either– certainly not if they do get Dwight. Take away Thompson, Barnes, Jack and Landry, and what do they have left around Howard and Curry? Given Howard’s age and injury concerns, I think they’d be better off trying to bring back Jack, and keep building around what they already have. I wouldn’t break up the Curry/Thompson back court for Dwight at this point in his career.

  19. jeff6381 - Jul 5, 2013 at 7:53 AM

    It would be stupid for the warriors to mortgage the team like that if they didn’t have some info they Howard would sign with them if the money was there but if you the Lakers I wouldn’t accept no sign and trade unless Barnes and Thompson was in the deal.

  20. tomshoe - Jul 5, 2013 at 9:10 AM

    Would have been easier had they not amnestied Charlie Bell…

    #GoesAroundComesAround

  21. loubearkane - Jul 5, 2013 at 9:29 AM

    The only way a team would touch those horrendous contracts would be if the Warriors add Thompson/Barnes or 1st rd picks to the deal, the latter probably wouldn’t get it done.

  22. cameltoehoe - Jul 5, 2013 at 9:48 AM

    Why are they do horrendous? They end after this upcoming year. Although the Lakers may be paying for their prolonged & deep abyss into the Luxury Tax territory, surely there are teams that want to prep for the 2014 Free Agent Class.

  23. bskilla - Jul 5, 2013 at 1:04 PM

    I don’t see how the leadership can blow everything up on a guy that doesn’t even know what he wants to do. Howard’s a great player don’t get me wrong, but this guy don’t know if he’s going or coming. There’s some positive momentum here and I believe in taking chances but if they don’t get their guy, there will be professional pride issues all over this team. I truly believe this is all smoke to not have to pay the luxury tax and if they land Howard it’s a huge win. If not, there’s consequences and can be a major set back. I just don’t like the fact that everyone has been offered in trade talks except Curry(no brainer) and there’s been no information about contact talks with Landry or Jack who were solid contributors. I guess, I would feel more comfortable if we had an ideal on plan B.

  24. iowahbr - Jul 5, 2013 at 2:10 PM

    Date 7/5/14 Nets dumping contracts to try and clear space for Howard from Warriors.
    Date 7/5/15 Celtics to fire Stevens and look to dump contracts to pick up Howard from Nets.

    Oh when will it end?

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