Here’s a rundown of today’s rumor (well, a few are from late last night).
It’s no surprise to anyone that the Lakers will be one of the primary suitors in a possible trade for Howard, and a person with knowledge of the team’s strategy told CBSSports.com that executive Jim Buss finally has dropped his opposition to trading center Andrew Bynum “for the right deal.” That’s code for “a deal for Dwight Howard,” and it’s clear from those familiar with Howard’s thinking that he’d like to join the Lakers. Bynum may or may not be on the Magic’s list of suitable replacements for Howard in a potential deal that also would have to include young players on rookie contracts and draft picks. The Bucks’ Andrew Bogut may be a better fit, a notion that has conjured speculation in the agent community of a three-team deal that would land Bynum in Milwaukee, Bogut in Orlando and Howard in L.A. The Lakers’ arena mates at Staples Center, the Clippers, also are believed to be willing to do whatever it takes to get Howard. The Clips have both the cap space to land Howard next summer and plenty of assets to entice Orlando, including Eric Gordon, Al-Farouq Aminu and a signed-and-traded DeAndre Jordan. Cap-space and asset-wise, few teams are in as good a shape as the Clippers over the next two years. If only they could use the amnesty provision on owner Donald Sterling.
Bynum earns $15.1 million so some other salaries might have to be moved to make the deals work.
If, of course, there are any deals to make.
The Magic could do worse than Bogut for Howard, but Bynum — despite his injury history — has more upside than Bogut. Bogut has had his share of injuries, too.
Still, if I’m Otis Smith, I put a deal like this (if true) in my back pocket and continue trolling for better deals.
A growing number of execs starting to believe that Magic will indeed give strong consideration to doing Dwight deal before season starts
Strengths: Afflalo shoots the 3-pointer very well, making 42.3 percent of his attempts last season. He’s also a willing defender.
Weaknesses: He isn’t a guy who creates off the dribble, and the Magic already have lots of those guys. Although he works hard as a defender, he’s not a guy who is especially athletic.
How he’d help the Magic: His shooting range would make him an ideal fit in Orlando’s offense, in which most players have the green light to shoot open 3s. He probably can defend opposing shooting guards at least as well as anyone currently on Orlando’s roster.
If Gilbert Arenas is cut with the new amnesty clause, as is expected, that leaves a whole at the off-guard spot. I think this team needs a scorer, a slasher in the back court. The Magic could also use another big guy, preferably a back-up center. Back-up PG may also be a need based on Chris Duhon’s play last year.
I’m sure you’ve all read Matt Moore’s Chris Paul-to-Orlando story, right?
(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, ESPN Florida’s Magic Insider (http://ESPNFlorida.com) and is the co-host of the ESPNFlorida.com Insiders Show Sunday mornings at 10:00 am EST. Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him onTwitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here)