According to a recent report from ESPN’s John Ireland, Dwight Howard would not sign an extension if he were brought to Los Angeles via trade. However, a report from ESPN’s cap guru Lary Coon said Howard would not immediately sign an extension anywhere he goes.
"An extension is a problem. An extend-and-trade only allows three years (including the current years on his contract) and 4.5% raises, and any extension that occurs within six months of a trade is treated like an extend-and-trade. If he was traded to the Lakers and subsequently extended, he could add on only one new year, with a 4.5% raise. If he was traded on, say, March 15, he could lock-in the additional year (on his existing deal), then sign an extension after September 15 that allowed for three new years and 7.5% raises."
The Lakers should not worry whether Howard would sign an extension with the Lakers—he will. There is no reason to believe otherwise. Howard has been talking about how he wants to win a championship and his best chance to accomplish that goal is in Los Angeles as a Laker.
The real reason Howard and his agent are saying he would not sign a contract extension is so that the Lakers do not break the bank for him. If Howard did come out and decided to sign the extension, then the Lakers would likely ship out Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum for his services—Dwight does not want that.
It seems pretty clear that Howard wants to ensure a chance at winning a championship and the only way he can be sure is if he is on a team full of really talented players. Considering the Lakers only have three people who fit that mold, it would not make sense for any player to sign an extension when two of them are being shipped out.
The Lakers need to know that Howard will sign an extension in order to continue pursuing him.
Laker fans may not care for Dwight Howard anymore because of the way that Andrew Bynum has been playing as of late—but those health concerns from Bynum always strike fear in the hearts of Laker fans.
With Dwight Howard, there will be less worry for injury. Howard also makes the Lakers a more desirable place to play. Dwight is one of the most beloved and respected players in the NBA, and it would come as no surprise if talented free agents wanted to join the Lakers to play with him.
If the Lakers do acquire Howard then trading Pau Gasol becomes that much easier. Sam Smith of NBA.com has reported that deal involving Lowry and Scola for Gasol would be a likely scenario.
"He probably has the best chance of being traded among the current and former All-Star players. The Lakers are woefully short in the backcourt and with depth and athleticism. He was in that aborted preseason deal to the Rockets, and their interest is said to remain the most significant. The deal that’s been most speculated is Gasol for Luis Scola and Kyle Lowry. The Rockets are said to be high on Goran Dragic and Jonny Flynn to replace Lowry, and the Lakers desperately need a point guard under Mike Brown’s system. This is a deal, denied for now, that benefits both teams and seems likely to be made.
Chances of Gasol being dealt: 75 percent."
If the Lakers were able to pull off a trade like then they would automatically have the best starting five in the NBA. This is what the Lakers would look like:
PG: Kyle Lowry (borderline All-Star)
SG: Kobe Bryant (best shooting guard in the NBA)
SF: Metta World Peace (one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA)
PF: Luis Scola (a very underrated and consistent power forward)
C: Dwight Howard (the best big man in the NBA)
Notable Players on the Bench: Steve Blake, Matt Barnes, Derek Fisher, Troy Murphy, Andrew Goudelock.
With a line-up like that, the Lakers would be tough to beat. Not only will they play well this year, but with Lowry and Howard the Lakers would be a dominant force for years to come.
If Jim Buss wants to build a dynasty then he needs to not give up on the pursuit of Dwight Howard and trade Pau Gasol for a top 10 point guard—otherwise the Lakers will likely be stuck in the second round of the playoffs until Kobe decides to hang up the sneakers.
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