Dwight Howard is still on the roster of the Orlando Magic for some reason. The numerous and various conflicting trade rumors surrounding him have clouded the real situation and left fans wondering what and who they can trust.
In the NBA today, the offseason is one of the most exciting times of the year. Players sign, are traded, are amnestied and much more. However, there are times when these stories go on for far too long. This Howard trade saga is one of those stories.
I think I speak for many fans when I write that I am tired of the never-ending, differing reports concerning Howard’s fate. It is time to put this player wherever he is going to end up and move on. Until that happens, we will all just have to wait.
Here are the biggest conflicting reports from the Dwight Howard trade saga.
According to a report from Jarrod Rudolph of RealGM.com on July 19, Dwight Howard had moved on from his infatuation with the Brooklyn Nets and had indicated that he was prepared to eventually sign long-term with the Lakers if traded to them.
The Lakers have been keen on acquiring Howard for a long time, but only if he was willing to sign long term with them. Andrew Bynum appeared to be the main piece they would use to get Howard, especially as the consensus second-best center in the league.
Obviously, we are weeks removed from this report and no trade has been made. Howard is still on the Orlando Magic roster, and he has not signed a long-term deal with anyone. I think you know what is coming next.
He Will Not
Just two days after the report about Howard being willing to re-up with the Lakers was put out there by RealGM, all our hopes of this drama ending were dashed by Ric Bucher of ESPN.
In fact, according to Bucher, Howard’s agent, Dan Fegan, stated that Howard would not guarantee re-signing with any team that trades for him, including the Brooklyn Nets. That particular bit of information was particularly surprising, as the Nets had always been the destination that Howard had been rumored to be in love with.
That being said, it makes sense for Howard to wait and become a free agent after next season. An extension would only be two or three years, whereas a new deal as a free agent would come in somewhere around five years and $116.9 million. That is a big loss financially that he would take by signing an extension.
Cavaliers Are Not Involved
On July 14, Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal tweeted that there were no truth to rumors that the Cavs were involved in trade talks with the Los Angeles Lakers and the Orlando Magic. The Cavaliers had been rumored to be interested in possibly acquiring Andrew Bynum as part of the trade.
Cleveland has the most cap space of any NBA team at this point in the offseason, and it makes sense that they could take on some of the bad contracts Orlando wants to get rid of in a Howard trade. It seems that they would also have draft picks they could offer up and possibly a few veterans like Anderson Varejao. However, Lloyd said the three teams were not involved, going as far as to say that there was “No merit to them at all.”
Those are strong words from a beat writer that is pretty tuned in to the team he covers. However, if we have learned anything in this saga, it is that no words are ever strong enough to stay true for very long.
Cavaliers Are Involved
Apparently, just five days after Lloyd had reported that the Cavaliers were not involved things had changed. On July 19, Ric Bucher of ESPN reported that the Cavaliers were involved in the talks and had “inched ahead of the Houston Rockets” as a third team contender.
This rumor had the Cavaliers giving up Anderson Varejao and draft picks, which would be sent to Orlando. Bynum would be sent to Cleveland. Howard would be sent to Los Angeles. This trade is very feasible financially for every team, especially because of the immense amount of cap space Cleveland has.
The draft picks and Varejao seem to fit very well into Orlando’s long-term plans as far as rebuilding their team. GM Rob Hennigan and head coach Jacque Vaughn come from the San Antonio/Oklahoma City school of thought, which is about building slowly on youth and defense. That is part of why I do not understand why this trade did not happen.
Howard Could Stay
GM Rob Hennigan has taken a slow, methodical approach to this situation. On July 28, Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel reported that Hennigan would not state definitively that Howard would be traded before the season started.
I admire Hennigan for his approach to this situation. Some may say that he has ruined some of his options by waiting, but this decision could make or break the franchise for a decade. It makes sense to take time and get the best return possible for Howard.
Unfortunately, no one can ever be satisfied by this Howard story because no matter what is said, something contradictory is said soon after. This particular rumor is no different.
Howard Could Be Gone Soon
On July 29, just a day later, Sam Amico of Fox Sports reported that the Orlando Magic were going to increase their efforts on dealing Howard in the face of his continued insistence that he will not remain in Orlando long term.
Amico’s report also stated that a large majority of sources believe that the Magic, while they could keep Howard, would deal him as soon as possible. Howard has not been dealt, but that does not mean the Magic are not talking seriously with multiple teams.
It is amazing how this situation can change in less than 24 hours. One day we think one thing. The next day we believe something totally different. It is clear that this situation is a fluid one, that changes on a day-by-day basis. It is also clear that many of the key reporters in on this have very different sources.
Bynum Will Sign With These Teams
Andrew Bynum is a key part of the Howard trade saga, as he is the biggest piece that the Orlando Magic or a third team could get in a deal for Howard. So, when Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports tweeted that Bynum had a short list of teams he would sign with, it was big news.
Needless to say, those teams would have a major advantage in acquiring Bynum as part of a Howard deal. The three teams that Wojnarowski reported were Houston, Dallas and Cleveland, each of which have been mentioned in various rumors involving this Howard trade situation.
While Cleveland has wanted Bynum for a while, Houston has been interested in getting him or Howard, whichever they can. Dallas has been primarily interested in Howard, but it appears they do not have the trade assets to get either him or Bynum.
Bynum Does Not Have Such a List
The idea that Bynum had such a list lasted for a while, until July 26 when Chris Broussard of ESPN reported that Bynum had not spoken to any teams other than the Lakers and that he did not have any list of potential free agent destinations.
Apparently, no one really knows what Bynum wants to do, which has really complicated any kind of trade talks involving him in a deal for Howard. Bynum will probably become a free agent because, just like Howard, he stands to lose a ton of money if he merely signs an extension.
It seems like we forget how much money means in situations like these. Just because these players are already extremely wealthy does not mean that they do not care about getting top dollar for their play.
In that sense, it makes sense for Bynum to not have a list of teams he will sign with. By keeping the mystery alive around what he is thinking, he retains all the leverage with the Lakers and every other team interested in signing him.
According to a report from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports from July 2, Dwight Howard had stated that he would only re-sign with one team if traded. While Howard did not specify what team that was, it is believed to be the Brooklyn Nets.
This may seem to be old news now, especially since the Nets re-signing of Brook Lopez prevents them from trading for Howard until January. But it is relevant nonetheless, as such a trade could still potentially happen.
Howard has long been rumored to desire a move to Brooklyn to play with Deron Williams, and it has always been the first team out of anyone’s mouth when discussing potential destinations for the franchise center. Unfortunately, this report too has been conflicted.
He Will Not
Howard must have changed his mind since he spoke to Wojnarowski. According to Ric Bucher of ESPN on July 21, Howard’s agent stated that Howard will not sign an extension with any team that he is traded to. That even includes the Brooklyn Nets.
That last bit is particularly surprising, given the popularity of the rumors about Howard’s persistent desire to end up in Brooklyn. It does make sense though. As I have stated previously, Howard loses a ton of money if he signs an extension with anyone rather than going into free agency next year.
This Dwight Howard saga may never end. Obviously that is not true, but I know it feels like it for weary fans who are tired of hearing so many conflicting reports. This will end, but we have no way of knowing thanks to the constant barrage of inconsistent information we are being given.