The Dwight Howard free-agency saga continues to drag on as the rest of the league waits for the biggest domino to fall. For the teams still in the hunt, that decision can’t come soon enough.
Unless, of course, if that team is the Golden State Warriors. According to Brian Windhorst and Marc Stein of ESPN, time isn’t on their side, as they attempt to dump salary in an attempt to sign D12 outright, as SportsCenter also tweeted:
Golden State doesn’t currently have the salary cap space to sign Howard, and as Windhorst and Stein noted, the Los Angeles Lakers are unlikely to deal the center in a sign-and-trade in favor of keeping their financial flexibility for next summer.
Given the Lakers’ current luxury tax issues, General Manager Mitch Kupchak probably isn’t going to find a package worth accepting in exchange for Howard. As it stands, the Warriors’ only viable option for obtaining him involves clearing cap space.
In an effort to do that, Golden State is reportedly trying to trade the expiring contracts of Andrew Bogut, Richard Jefferson and Andris Biedrins, though it has been unsuccessful in finding a suitor not also interested in budding stars like Harrison Barnes and Klay Thompson—two players the Warriors aren’t likely to deal.
At this point, time is very much a concern. Many expect Howard to make a decision on Friday, and while Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld suggests it could be a few more days before that ultimately happens, that still doesn’t leave a lot of time for the Warriors to wheel and deal.
The Cavs have plenty of cap space this summer and have already agreed to terms with free-agent forward Earl Clark, as reported by Windhorst. Should they still be in the market to make big improvements this offseason, any of the three players noted in his report could be in play.
Still, Golden State is up against both the clock and the realities of the NBA collective bargaining agreement. With new luxury tax stipulations in play, teams just aren’t as willing to take on big contracts, and the Warriors may find it increasingly difficult to deal away their massive expiring contracts.
According to Janis Carr of the Orange County Register, Howard has made his decision and will announce it via Twitter this weekend:
Still, Howard's decision isn't final, and assuming the team he selected isn't already the Warriors, they could still force a change of direction by the time he's ready to announce his decision.