Read the title, and take a deep breath.
ESPN is reporting that, contrary to reports that came out yesterday saying that Dwight Howard would sign a long-term deal with the Lakers, Howard's agent said Dwight would test free agency wherever traded and would not sign a long-term contract.
This means nothing. Absolutely nothing.
Jarrod Rudolph, a writer for Real GM, was the writer that is first credited with releasing the story on how Dwight has become sweet on L.A.
Dwight Howard has long coveted the Brooklyn Nets as his next landing spot, but after a summer filled with daily rumors of four-team trade proposals, the six-time All-Star has moved on from his Big Apple infatuation and is locked in on joining the Los Angeles Lakers, sources tell RealGM...
...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.
The emphasis is added, because this is all readers need to see. Reports never surfaced that stated Dwight would sign an extension with the Lakers, but instead would play out the 2012-13 season and then sign long-term. The Los Angeles franchise would be able to offer him the full Bird Rights contract of 5 years and approximately $100 million.
An extension was never on the table here. For further explanation why, one must simply look at the new 2011 NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement. The agreement limits extend-and-trade contracts to a three year max, including any remaining years already on the deal. In addition, the extended contract can only be raised by 4.5 percent, coming out to $16 million for this year then $16.72 million for the next two years. In a stark contrast, if Dwight "tests" free agency and re-signs with the Lakers, he will be facing a full 5-year $100 million contract.
Agreeing to a sign-and-extend would equate to Dwight losing roughly $6.56 million in the next two years.
As a professional athlete, one only has a certain window to get the maximum amount of money as possible. There is no knowledge of when skills down the road may start slipping or when a career-changing injury may occur. It is only a good business decision for Dwight to not sign an extension-and-trade and instead want the full Bird Rights max contract that the Lakers would be able to offer him in free agency.
The Lakers and sports fans must see past the continuous news blasting that has become the norm during the Dwight Howard trade saga. Nothing has changed since Dwight decided he would re-up with the Lakers yesterday.
Now, the only thing to do is to wait and see where, how, and when the "Dwightmare" ends.