Sefko wrote on Sunday:
There is new competition, by the way. A few executives around the league have learned since the Clippers’ season ended with a first-round playoff loss to Memphis that they are probing ways to dump enough salary to make a run at Howard. Other personnel execs said they doubted that the Clippers could free enough money to make a serious run at him.
The Clippers could free up enough money to go after Howard, but it certainly wouldn't be easy.
Lamar Odom, Chauncey Billups, Ronny Turiaf, Matt Barnes and Ryan Hollins are all set to be free agents this summer, which could free up some salary cap space. But the Clippers would have to either let Chris Paul go or trade Blake Griffin or DeAndre Jordan to complete the picture. Given that they re-signed Jordan to a four-year, $43 million deal in December 2011, it will be tough to trade him.
The problem is, even if the Clippers were to unload enough baggage to make a legitimate run at Howard, no one would be able to touch the amount of money or amount of years the Los Angeles Lakers will be able to offer him.
As Pro Basketball Talk pointed out in April, Howard can re-sign with the Lakers for one more guaranteed year and $30 million more in guaranteed money than he can sign with other teams. That's quite a bit to leave on the table if he decided to join the Clippers, or Dallas Mavericks, or Houston Rockets, or Atlanta Hawks or any other rumored team.
Sure, he could be tired of the drama in Los Angeles, but it's not like one of the most scrutinized players in the NBA is going to be left alone anywhere else. Wherever he goes, there will be championship expectations.
Plus, you can't say if he joined any of the aforementioned teams that it would be a sure thing that he would win a title. He's next to one of the greatest players who ever lived in Kobe Bryant. With another year of chemistry and a revamped roster, Los Angeles could still contend for the championship.
There will be a lot of talk about potential landing spots for Howard this offseason, but it's hard to imagine him signing with anybody but the Lakers, even after a dismal campaign.
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