Dwight Howard, according to RealGM's Jarrod Rudolph, is willing to sign a long-term extension with the Los Angeles Lakers if the Orlando Magic can get a deal done. Dwight's willingness to sign an extension to keep him in L.A. past this season solves one huge roadblock for a potential trade, but hurdles still remain.
RealGM broke the news with this tweet:
— RealGM (@RealGM) July 19, 2012
Inside the report, it discusses Howard's willingness to sign a deal.
The Lakers are reportedly ready to make the trade, but first need assurance from Howard that he will commit to the team long term. Sources say Howard is “excited” about the opportunity to play for the Lakers and will re-sign with the team when his contract expires at the end of the 2012-13 season.
Now that the Brooklyn Nets are out of the picture, it seems that Howard has finally come to his senses and realized the best situation for him is in Los Angeles.
While the report says that the Lakers are ready to make the trade and that Howard is on board, it fails to mention where Orlando's front office currently sits on this. Another huge problem that needs solving is Andrew Bynum and where he would be willing to sign an extension.
Howard's willingness to sign long term with the Lakers needs to be taken with a grain of salt, as his word hasn't meant much throughout the long process of him departing from Orlando.
If the Lakers can land Howard, they go from being contenders in the West to likely being the favorites to dethrone the Miami Heat next season. A combo of Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant and Howard would definitely rival Miami's "Big Three."
With Howard, the team should be quite competitive for the next couple of seasons. Once the Bryant and Nash era comes to end, Howard will be the big star of a big-market team. The Lakers' front office has shown a willingness to build around Bryant in the last few seasons, and should do the same with Howard as the centerpiece.
For Lakers fans, the news is quite exciting, but this doesn't mean a trade will definitely get done. However, it's a great sign and a step in the right direction. Don't order a Dwight Howard Lakers jersey just yet, but it might be time to start saving up the money for it.