It appears that the Golden State Warriors are serious about their level of interest in Dwight Howard. What once was a rumor with no substance has gained some momentum into a consideration that, to a large degree, makes sense.
The free agency period kicked off around the NBA as of Midnight Eastern Monday morning and Howard has already caught the eye of a reported five teams. The quick moving Howard has already met with the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets with meetings scheduled for Tuesday with the Atlanta Hawks, Golden State Warriors, and Dallas Mavericks.
Even though multiple media outlets regard the Rockets as the favorite, the Warriors are attempting to pitch the idea that there can be a sign-and-trade that would benefit both the Lakers and the Warriors. If the Lakers are unable to re-sign Howard, the idea of trading him makes all the sense in the world.
The Warriors are proposing a deal in which they would send Andrew Bogut in a package of either young talent or more expiring contracts. The only way it makes sense for the Lakers, however, would be to get either Harrison Barnes or Klay Thompson in the trade. The idea of simply getting Bogut and an expiring contract, no matter who that might be, is not nearly enough to sell the Lakers.
Bogut would be a less than ideal replacement of Howard but the idea would be to get a young shooter to replace Kobe Bryant in the near future. Thompson certainly fits the mold of a strong youth movement and would be relatively cheap for the next few years.
To make the deal work under the terms of the CBA there would have to be an additional contract such as Andris Biedrins or Richard Jefferson in order to get the Warriors under the cap which is required in a sign-and-trade.
From a Lakers perspective getting Bogut, Thompson, and either of the other two would be preferable to Howard simply walking away to Houston. The Lakers don’t possess the leverage in Howard’s or the Warriors’ situation so getting Thompson could be a tough negotiation. It’s a dangerous situation for the Warriors depending on what they give up but getting Howard gives them the strong Center they’ve lacked for so long.
All of this could be for nothing if Dwight opts for Houston since he could go there without the Rockets having to give up big time assets to get him. One thing is for sure, the drama that surrounds Howard will continue until the ink is dry on whatever deal he signs.