NBA Rumors: Andrew Bynum Extension Not the End of Potential D12 Trade

Steven GerwelContributor IIIJuly 29, 2012

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - DECEMBER 25:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic looks to drive on Nick Collison #4 of the Oklahoma City Thunder during the NBA season opening game December 25, 2011 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  Oklahoma City defeated Orlando 97-89. 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 Brett Deering/Getty Images)
Brett Deering/Getty Images

The Dwight Howard fiasco in Orlando has fueled endless speculation regarding the possibility of him suiting up for the Los Angeles Lakers as part of a roster that would be practically guaranteed to make a deep playoff run. 

The fans certainly seem enamored with the idea of having the best defensive player in the game as part of their starting five, and Howard himself seems open to receiving the level of stardom that only a team like the Lakers can provide. 

Howard is so open to the idea, in fact, that he is perfectly willing to sign a long-term extension with Los Angeles if a deal gets done (according to ESPN). 

But the collective desire for a trade between Howard and the fans is not enough. The Lakers and the Magic are the ones who need to see eye-to-eye for the move to happen, which is not looking likely. 

The Lakers feel that they already have one of the better NBA centers in Andrew Bynum, and CBS Sports is reporting that negotiations are in progress and a long-term extension is being discussed. 

Meanwhile, Howard has made it painfully clear that he is unwilling to play another game for the Magic, but the team is unwilling to do him any favors and they want him present for the upcoming season. 

The Lakers have zero desperation with Bynum on the roster, and the Magic are unwilling to deal, so it's obvious that the Lakers will move on at some point. 

But if the Lakers reach an extension with Bynum, is that the end of the Howard trade? 

Not likely. 

All the extension will do is ensure that Bynum is under contract. If an agreement is made, it doesn't necessarily mean that the Lakers are completely dedicated to Bynum and uninterested in alternatives. 

The fact that Bynum would be under contract actually makes him more valuable. If he's traded to the Magic, they won't be forced to go through more contract drama a year from now. 

In reality, the interest is dwindling, maybe even gone permanently. The Lakers have seemingly moved on, or at least that's the impression they're giving off. 

But the possibility is still alive.