All this watching and waiting for Dwight to come to a decision from his hideaway in Aspen, Colorado appears to be getting to the Los Angeles Lakers. According to ESPN's Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne, the Purple and Gold are now reconsidering their previously held stance against any and all sign-and-trade scenarios amidst growing concern that Howard will want to play elsewhere.
The Golden State Warriors would be the most clear-cut candidate to talk shop with the Lakers in such a manner. They lack the cap space to sign Dwight outright, but sport the requisite enticements (Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes) and expiring contracts (Andrew Bogut, Andris Biedrins, Richard Jefferson) to make it work.
The Houston Rockets, considered the frontrunners to win these sweepstakes before they began, could have the room to acquire Howard without LA's help with a few tweaks to their roster. But they may need the Lakers to partake in the transaction if Dwight insists on bringing Josh Smith, a fellow free agent and longtime friend, with him to Space City.
As for the Dallas Mavericks and the Atlanta Hawks, there's no indication yet that either team would try for a sign-and-trade. Nor is either considered a frontrunner to land Howard's signature at this point in time.
But what should the Lakers do if Dwight does, indeed, want to ditch LA? Should they try to get something tangible for him? Or should they let him walk and hoard the savings therein?
Let's see if we can sneak a peak inside Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak's mind at the moment, shall we?