Update: What? You thought another day would go by without another Dwight Howard trade rumor? Think again. Yahoo! Sports reports that the Los Angeles Lakers have made still another effort to lure the Orlando Magic all-star center to the West Coast.
In fact, the website indicated that representatives from both teams are meeting in the hopes of ironing out a deal that would — finally — get the disgruntled Howard out of Orlando.
One barrier would be for Howard to commit to re-signing with the Lakers after this season, the last of his current contract. There also is the matter of a supposed not-so-friendly relationship between Howard and superstar Kobe Bryant.
Even with the talks, ESPN.com reports that a trade is not on the horizon, even though the sides have had steady contact over the last week. Also, there has not been any report of specific players, but Andrew Bynum has been a key part of any talks between the two teams in the past.
Still another source said the trade would be “very tough to pull off.”
Howard had requested a trade to the Brooklyn Nets, but talks broke down between the teams last week and the Nets indicated they were out of the Howard sweepstakes. Magic GM Rob Hennigan then called Howard to see if he would consider giving the GM’s new regime a chance. Howard swatted away that notion as he has so many shots in the paint.
The Houston Rockets also made a new proposal to the Magic for Howard last weekend and are willing to take on long-term salary commitments from Orlando to land Howard..
Last week, sources told ESPN.com that the Rockets and Lakers had discussed a multitude of trade scenarios with the Magic. In those talks, the Rockets were offering to serve both as the team that would acquire Howard in a direct trade between the clubs and also as a third team that would participate in a trade that lands Howard with the Lakers and Bynumto Houston.
Sources have said that Hennigan might feel more comfortable taking back a package of youngsters, recent draftees and future first-round draft picks — while shedding some long-term salary as well — than taking on Bynum as Howard’s replacement and facing a similar challenge in persuading him to commit to the franchise long-term like the Magic have dealt with for months with Howard.
Both Howard and Bynum will be in the final seasons of their current contracts.