The Cleveland Cavaliers are eager partners in the three-way blockbuster trade talks to send Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers, but won’t proceed until the Lakers grant them permission to talk to All-Star Andrew Bynum and his agent about the center’s willingness to sign a contract extension, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
"Cleveland will only do the deal if Bynum extends," a league official directly involved in the talks told Yahoo! Sports.
Los Angeles wants the structure of a three-team deal agreed in principle before letting Cleveland take that next step to communicate with Bynum and his representatives – and that won’t happen until Orlando makes a decision that it wants to also lock-in the framework of a trade, sources told Y!
So far, Orlando has shown a level of indecisiveness in the talks, sources involved in the negotiations said.
Bynum and Howard will be free agents next summer. Once the Brooklyn Nets lost the ability to pursue Howard, the Lakers had complete confidence that Howard would re-sign with them after next season should they trade for him. RealGM.com reported that Howard has indicated a willingness to do so, but few imagined a scenario where Howard be moved to the Lakers and walk away to take less money elsewhere as a free agent. From the Lakers' championship contention to L.A.'s massive market which could swell Howard's new sneaker deal and help him earn more endorsements, the Lakers always believed that they were an easy sell to Howard.
For the Cavaliers, it’s a different story with Bynum. He's 24 years old, and salary-cap space in Dallas and Houston could be intriguing to him. That’s why Cleveland needs the promise of a contract extension to consummate this deal. The Cavaliers believe they can sell Bynum on a partnership with one of the most dynamic young players in the sport – point guard Kyrie Irving – as well as their young core of talent and owner Dan Gilbert’s willingness to commit the resources needed to compete for championships.
Orlando wants to do a total rebuild, and has shown an inclination to make a deal that unloads itself of long-term veteran contracts and brings back young players and draft picks. The Houston Rockets also remain committed to competing with Los Angeles to make a deal for Howard.
Other popular content on Yahoo! Sports:
• Antawn Jamison on the Lakers could be a dangerous, dangerous thing
• Yahoo! Sports Minute: LeBron James schools Kevin Durant on his 'unstoppable' shot
• Larry Fitzgerald: Take Megatron over me in fantasy ... he’s got the QB