Dwight Howard still has some leverage over in where he gets traded.
Not because the Magic give a rat’s a** what he wants, if they could trade him to a team from Siberia in the Russian league they would do it. Rather it’s because he can walk away as a free agent next summer from wherever he gets traded if he wants.
There are teams that might make a good offer for Howard if he would agree to sign an extension. Like, say, the Lakers. Check out this tweet from Jarrod Rudolph, who writes for Real GM and is well connected in Orlando.
Source: Lakers are prepared to offer the Andrew Bynum and Metta World Peace to the Magic for Dwight Howard provided Howard signs extension… I’m told the Magic will include Jason Richardson in any deal for Dwight Howard.
The second part of that I’m sure is true — they want to ship Richardson or Hedo Turkoglu out with this deal. And while Richardson makes less per year he has a longer deal and is due more money in total.
But the extension… that’s not going to happen. Not exactly. First off, even if Howard decided he wanted to re-sign with the Lakers he would become a free agent then re-sign under Bird rights because he would get more money and more years. (It’s what Chris Paul is doing, he can sign an extension now for three years and $60 million or become a free agent after next season and re-sign with the Clippers for five years $105 million. Easy call.)
Howard has been dead-set against coming to the Lakers through the process. Reportedly it starts with Howard not wanting to follow in Shaquille O’Neal’s footsteps from Orlando to Los Angeles. But multiple reports also say Howard was turned off by a phone conversation with Kobe Bryant last year where Kobe allegedly said Howard would be the third offensive option on the Lakers (behind Kobe and Pau Gasol). He essentially said he would be the Lakers Tyson Chandler, or that’s how it was perceived. Howard wants to be the star where he goes.
So don’t bet on the Lakers winning this battle.
But the sweepstakes is on for Howard, and he still has a little control over the process.