Lakers Trade Rumors: LA Smart to Bypass Houston in Chase for Dwight Howard

Ben ChodosCorrespondent IIJuly 15, 2012

ORLANDO, FL - DECEMBER 21: Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic argues a call during a preseason game against the Miami Heat at Amway Center on December 21, 2011 in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers are involved in a new trade proposal to land Dwight Howard that involves the Cleveland Cavaliers and Orlando Magic, and the team is wise to push the Houston Rockets out of the loop.

Alex Kennedy of reported that the deal involves Andrew Bynum heading to Cleveland, while Orlando would receive an unspecified combination of draft picks and young players. 

The Lakers, Magic & Cavaliers are discussing three-team deal that may send Dwight Howard to LA and Andrew Bynum to CLE:

— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) July 14, 2012

This is a major shift in the Howard trade saga because it does not involve the Houston Rockets, who had been aggressively pursuing the All-Star center, according to ESPN's Marc Stein and Chad Ford.

Dealing with the Cavaliers instead of the Rockets will be much more beneficial for the Lakers, because Cleveland has no interest in signing Howard for themselves. Houston, in contrast, is willing to explore deals that land either Bynum or Howard in Houston, as noted by Stein and Ford.

In deals with Houston as the third team, the Lakers would face more pressure in negotiations as the Rockets could just pull the trigger on a deal in which they land Howard. 

This deal with the Cavs makes more sense for all parties involved. The Magic, as noted by Kennedy, will still receive prospects, picks and cap relief in the deal. 

According to Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, Bynum would be willing to sign long-term deals with both the Rockets and the Cavaliers. 

Cleveland is able to pair Bynum, who is only 24 years old, with Kyrie Irving, the reigning Rookie of the Year. 

Lastly, the Lakers get an upgrade at center in Howard, who will make Los Angeles a serious title contender. 

A deal with the Rockets would make Orlando and Los Angeles equally as happy, but Houston is not as attractive a destination for Bynum, as they do not have a player like Irving. 

Houston currently faces slight complications with the exact trade they can give to the Magic due to the offer sheets they have extended to Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik, as noted in Stein and Ford’s article.

If Asik, Lin, or both players head to Houston, the Rockets would have less cap space to take back contracts from Orlando. 

While this situation pans out, the Lakers would be wise to pounce on a deal that freezes out the Rockets. With Houston as a major player in the talks, this complicated deal will become even more difficult for the Lakers to get done.