HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Has persistence finally paid off for the Los Angeles Lakers?
If the rumblings prove correct, that could be the case. Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard, whose months-old trade request to the Brooklyn Nets, is apparently warming up to the idea of joining the Los Angeles Lakers, per a report from RealGM’s Jarrod N. Rudolph.
With Howard reportedly set to sign a long-term extension with the Lakers, all that’s needed now is for all sides to sign off on a three-team blockbuster that will reshape the balance of power in the Western Conference and the league. The details from Rudolph (click here to hear Rudolph discussing the latest on the Howard drama on Episode 87 of the Hang Time Podcast):
Dwight Howard has long coveted the Brooklyn Nets as his next landing spot, but after a summer filled with daily rumors of four-team trade proposals, the six-time All-Star has moved on from his Big Apple infatuation and is locked in on joining the Los Angeles Lakers, sources tell RealGM.
The Lakers, Orlando Magic and Cleveland Cavaliers are reportedly discussing a three-team trade that would send Howard to the Lakers, Andrew Bynum to the Cavaliers, while the Magic would receive Anderson Varejao and multiple draft picks.
Howard has always been impressed with the Lakers’ winning tradition and intrigued with the off-court opportunities that come with playing in Los Angeles.
Questions about Howard’s role with the team, however, became an early concern for the three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year. Howard has since moved on from those concerns and is confident he will be an integral part of a team that will have a chance to compete immediately for a championship, according to sources that spoke with RealGM.
The Lakers are reportedly ready to make the trade, but first need assurance from Howard that he will commit to the team long-term. Sources say Howard is “excited” about the opportunity to play for the Lakers and will re-sign with the team when his contract expires at the end of the 2012-13 season.
The Lakers would have a nucleus of Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Howard and Pau Gasol, pushing them right to the top of the Western Conference heap alongside the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs.
Howard has been in Los Angeles since April back surgery and was spotted Tuesday night at a Dodgers game, where he was cheered by fans after being spotted by television cameras and shown on the stadium’s big screen.
The Lakers’ dealings this summer, adding Nash, and their persistence in engaging the Magic in discussions about Howard, clearly have made an impression, if Howard is indeed ready to sign a long-term extension with the team. Because for months and as recently as two weeks ago he made it clear that his first and only choice was the Nets, telling Yahoo! Sports that he would sign an extension with “one team and one team only,” though he never named the Nets specifically.
But like all things with Howard since December, what’s believed to be true one day can change the next day. That said, a Lakers team with Howard in the middle alongside Gasol and Bryant and Nash in the backcourt is as formidable a lineup, on paper, as you’ll see anywhere in the league this season.