HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – In the wonderful world that is the never-ending Dwight Howard drama, the news one day can be debunked the very next day.
A Thursday report that suggested Howard was warming up to the idea of potentially signing a long-term extension with the Lakers, if traded there, is being refuted today by Howard’s agent, Dan Fegan, who told ESPN The Magazine‘s Ric Bucher something that totally contradicts that stance.
According to this latest report, Howard will not sign an extension anywhere, and that includes Brooklyn, the one team he has said all along was his required destination:
“Dwight’s position has remained unchanged since the end of this past season,” said Dan Fegan of LaGardere Unlimited. “He fully intends to explore free agency at the end of next season, regardless of what team trades for him, including Brooklyn.”
A source said the Nets never insisted Howard commit to an extension as a prerequisite for acquiring him, which Nets president Billy King confirmed in a text message.
Howard told the Magic, according to GM Rob Hennigan, he would like to be traded to the Brooklyn Nets above any other team. The Nets made concerted efforts to strike a deal for Howard earlier this month, but were forced to stop when the Charlotte Bobcats threatened to sign their restricted free agent center, Brook Lopez, to an offer sheet.
Lopez was expected to be a key part of any deal with the Magic and signing an offer sheet could have preempted including him in any deal, depending on the terms of the offer sheet. The Nets then signed Lopez to a four-year, $61 million deal.
Since then, the Lakers have become the primary suitor for Howard, recruiting both the Houston Rockets and Cleveland Cavaliers as potential third-team participants to deliver the salary relief, draft picks and young talent that Orlando is seeking in return for their All-Star center.
The longest Howard could sign an extension, according to ESPN Insider’s Larry Coon, would be two years if he signed with Orlando and was traded, or three years if he signed after being traded.
If he waits until his current deal expires, Howard would be eligible to sign a new five-year deal for as much as $108 million.
For those of you keeping score, this would mark the 127th time (give or take another hundred or so) since December that we’ve gotten mixed signals from Howard’s camp.
(And for the record, the Thursday report didn’t say he would sign an extension with the Lakers if traded there, it specifically stated that he was warming up to the idea after months of declaring Brooklyn as his preferred and basically his only destination.)
Seriously, though, the Dwightmare fatigue is reaching epic proportions these days. And the only thing that seems certain is that it won’t end anytime soon!