Dwight Howard remains a member of the Orlando Magic after the draft Thursday night, but the clock is ticking. Teams are making their move for the dissatisfied center, and the Magic are getting ready to move on and prepare for next season.
With the draft over, teams can now focus on the busy trade market. Howard is just one of many looking for a new home in the fall. Here are the latest rumors from around the NBA.
Dwight Howard Trade Saga Continues
The Dwight Howard sweepstakes is down to three legitimate suitors, all trying to not only obtain him from the Orlando Magic, but sign him to a long-term deal.
New Magic GM Rob Hennigan will have his hands full trying to deal with the Howard situation. Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski discusses his top priority as the new GM:
Hennigan will immediately be confronted with making a decision on All-Star center Dwight Howard’s future. Howard is signed through the 2012-13 season, but another fallout with management has left him wanting a trade soon. Howard will push for a trade to the Brooklyn Nets before the June 28 NBA draft to clear the way for Nets free agent Deron Williams to re-sign with the Nets and partner in the new Brooklyn arena next season.
Now past the draft, the fight for the six-time all-star continues. The Brooklyn Nets have been planning a Deron Williams/Dwight Howard combo for years now, but a couple of issues stand in their way. Howard's preferred destination may not have enough pieces to beat out other offers.
The centerpiece in the deal heading back to the Magic would likely be Brook Lopez. But he is a restricted free agent and can't be moved. Brooklyn may need a couple of weeks before they are able to make an offer for Howard, and that puts them at a severe disadvantage.
Deron Williams is also testing the free-agent waters, and he might not even return to potentially join Howard.
If it were up to Howard, he would already be in Brooklyn, but the Magic may have better options in mind.
The Houston Rockets are the dark horse to land Howard, and Thursday's draft gave them some very intriguing pieces. They had the 12th, 16th and 18th picks in the first round, trying to obtain enough talent to entice the Magic. The team selected Jeremy Lamb from Connecticut, Royce White from Iowa State and Terrence Jones from Kentucky.
Houston may be the most active team of the three, but Howard has made it clear that he wouldn't sign a long-term deal with the Rockets. The Rockets will still attempt to make a deal, but it's hard to imagine Houston giving up a load of talent for one season with Howard.
Source close to situation says if Dwight Howard isn't dealt to Rockets (Thursday) or (Friday), Lakers fans may have reason to get excited. Rockets are exhausting resources. If it's not enough, (Lakers) will likely move in within the next few weeks.
The Lakers have Andrew Bynum, likely the best piece the Magic could get in return. Pairing Howard up with Kobe Bryant could help make the Lakers serious contenders again after two consecutive early playoff exits.
The sooner the Orlando Magic get rid of the Howard distraction the better. And if the Rockets can't get a deal in place, expect the Lakers to make a substantial offer. Meanwhile, Brooklyn will hope the madness lasts a few more weeks until they have their pieces in place.
Odom Back to L.A
Lamar Odom was absolutely awful this past season with the Dallas Mavericks. He averaged 6.6 points per game on 35.2 percent shooting—both career lows by a wide margin. What happened to him is still up for debate, but at 32 years old, his time as an effective NBA player is not yet over.
Dallas just wants him off of its hands, and the Los Angeles Clippers have expressed interest in the former Sixth Man of the Year. Originally drafted by the Clippers with the fourth overall pick in 1999, Odom spent four years with the team before heading off to Miami.
The Mavericks don't want to take on any salary in the deal, so the Utah Jazz have stepped in to make it work. Clippers guard Mo Williams is expected to exercise his $8.5 million player option and play next year as a member of the Jazz.
The trade appears to be imminent unless Mo Williams has a change of heart and decides to test the free-agent market. Odom to the Clippers could be finalized by the end of the weekend.
Lakers Shopping Gasol
The Los Angeles Lakers are committed to trading Pau Gasol this offseason. He was almost a Rocket last season when the Chris Paul trade was agreed upon, until David Stern shut it down. This time, Gasol will be gone, no matter what it takes.
The Grizzles are reportedly interested in reuniting with Pau and teaming him up with his brother, Marc. But they don't seem to have anyone to make this deal work. Randolph likely won't be enough for the Lakers, and the Grizzles have already said that Rudy Gay is not available
A much more viable option may be the Minnesota Timberwolves. They are willing to give up Derrick Williams, the second overall pick in 2011. Gasol would team up with Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio in what could be a very dangerous trio in the West. However, Williams is still just 21 and will be a project, not something the Lakers can use to win now.
The Lakers' best offer may come from the Atlanta Hawks. The team is ready to move the disgruntled Josh Smith in favor of Gasol. This would give Los Angeles more athleticism and a huge boost defensively. Smith has a ton of talent and, at 26, provides a much younger option than Gasol.
It looks as though Pau Gasol's time is up with the Lakers, for certain this time around. Unless a dark horse gets into the mix, expect Los Angeles to take Smith over the inexperienced Derrick Williams and send Gasol to Atlanta.
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