What must Andrew Bynum be thinking?
He stayed healthy all last season for the Los Angeles Lakers, played well enough to make the all-star time, and yet his name almost daily rises in trade discussions involving Dwight Howard. The latest speculation has the Cleveland Cavaliers emerging as a third team to help Orlando ship the disgruntled Howard to the Lakers.
Here’s the rumor: The Magic would land Bynumfor a package of draft picks and veteran power forward Anderson Varejao,according to one league source. The Lakers would receive Howard for Bynum. Orlando would get Varejao and draft picks. The source said this was merely the framework of a deal being discussed.
Another source familiar with the talks, though, cautioned not to make too much of that shift just yet.
Cavaliers general manager Chris Grant was in Las Vegas watching summer-league action but made an unplanned return to Cleveland, sources say, and is not expected to return. In the frenzy of anticipating if, when and where Howard might be dealt, such otherwise innocuous events have been enough to inspire massive speculation that a deal is near.
The Lakers have engaged both the Rockets and Cavaliers in their attempt to land Howard, sources say, because those two teams have both interest in acquiring Bynum, and have the requisite salary-cap room to accept larger player salaries than they send out in a deal.
The complicating point for any deal to be completed, sources say, is whether Bynum and Howard agree to extensions with their next team. Sources close to Howard say that as of now, after mistakenly depriving himself of free agency this summer by opting into the final year of his deal with the Magic, he has no intention of doing so again.
ESPNLosAngeles.com reported the Lakers remain committed to pursuing Howard even without assurances he’d sign a long-term extension with the club.
The Rockets have had Howard at the top of their wish list for months and have made moves to pursue him, from collecting first-round picks in the draft to using the amnesty clause on Luis Scola. When this ongoing sage will end, no one knows.