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How the Los Angeles Lakers Can Land Dwight Howard
If the Los Angeles Lakers were willing to ship Andrew Bynum(notes) and Lamar Odom(notes) to the Magic for Dwight Howard(notes) and a bad contract, Orlando would likely pull the trigger on a deal sending D12 to the city of angels.
Well first off, the Orlando Magic are desperate. That may seem harsh, but the moment Howard told Esquire that there was "more you can do in a bigger place," that he felt "stuck" and that he could not "live for everybody else," he essentially implied that he was gone. To make matters worse for Orlando, Matt Barnes(notes) recently stated that Howard has told him he wants to be Laker.
The writing on the wall could not be clearer.
Orlando does not need Cleveland's example of what a superstar leaving a smaller market via free agency can do to a team and city. When Shaquille O'Neal(notes) left Orlando in 1996, the Magic went from a title-contender to an Eastern Conference chew toy and the ripple effects on the local economy were devastating.
The Magic will not let that happen again. They must extract some value from Howard's potential exit, which means they have to acquire young, inexpensive talent and large expiring contracts, or comparable talent and the ability to dump some lousy contracts.
One of these two options will get this deal done.
Since the Lakers do not have the assets to satisfy condition number one, they will have probably have to offer Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom for D12 and take one of these Magic contracts:
Some in the media believe that it would take sending both Pau and Bynum, along with accepting Arenas' contract, for the Lakers to land Howard. To me, this ignores the Lakers' bargaining leverage.
Normally, that trade would make sense if the deal needed to be as equitable as possible. But, if all of these rumors and reports are true and Dwight Howard really wants to be in L.A., the Lakers would not be required to give up so much. They could just refuse the trade and force Orlando into the herculean task of finding a team that is willing to give up significant assets for a one year rental.
L.A. would then trade for expiring contracts and/or use the amnesty clause to free up enough cap space to sign Howard in 2012.
This is why I am convinced that Bynum and Odom for Howard and Turkoglu seals the deal. The Magic unload on Hedo's vile contract and gain both a young, respectable center as well as one of the most versatile players in the NBA.
In turn, the Lakers would acquire Dwight Howard and instantly become the favorites to take home the Larry O'Brien trophy—for years.
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