Orlando Magic v Los Angeles Lakers

Dwight Howard latest: Three-team deal with Bynum to Rockets in play


The Lakers have not been able to swing a Dwight Howard for Andrew Bynum deal. The Rockets have not been able to convince Orlando to trade them Howard for picks and a few players.

So, how about a three way deal.

It’s being discussed, reports Eric Pincus at Hoopsworld (and confirmed by Marc Stein at ESPN).

HOOPSWORLD has learned that there have been preliminary discussions between the Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets that would involve sending Andrew Bynum to the Rockets, Howard to the Lakers and a number of first-round picks, prospects and significant cap relief to the Magic.

The Magic are not necessarily in love with the idea of giving either Bynum or Brook Lopez a sizable, long-term commitment as they go through a major roster overhaul. Draft picks and prospects, a la the Denver Nuggets’ return on Carmelo Anthony, is said to be more appealing to Orlando.

While that’s out there, it is a long, long way from reality. Houston would have to take on Jason Richardson or one of the other Magic toxic contracts they want to dump? Is Lakers owner Jim Buss really ready to trade away Bynum and bet that Howard will re-sign when he has said he doesn’t want to go to L.A.? Tthe Rockets would be willing to rent Howard, but what about Bynum? And would Bynum agree to extend in Houston? And there are more questions.

The sides are talking, but the only thing for sure is that the Magic are talking to everyone now.

The Magic have pulled back following the death of the three-team Howard deal with Brooklyn and are looking at all their options.

That includes a straight up deal with the Nets (the one the Magic have basically rejected for a year now) or a straight up one with the Rockets not involving the Lakers. The Nets, however, are in talks with Brook Lopez and may just re-sign him and go with the team they have now (Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, et al.).

James Harden: “I am the best player in the league. I believe that.”

James Harden, Stephen Curry
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James Harden was the MVP last season — if you ask his fellow NBA players.

The traditional award (based on a media vote) went to Stephen Curry (in the closest vote in four years), and that was the right call (in my mind). But from the time it happened Harden did not buy it. And he still doesn’t buy it. In the least — and he’s using that as fuel for this season. That’s what he told Fran Blinebury over at NBA.com.

“I am the best player in the league. I believe that,” he said. “I thought I was last year, too.”

Well, it’s a more realistic claim than Paul George’s.

“But that award means most valuable to your team. We finished second in the West, which nobody thought we were going to do at the beginning of the year even when everybody was healthy. We were near the top in having the most injuries. We won our division in a division where every single team made the playoffs.

“There’s so many factors. I led the league in total points scored, minutes played. Like I said, I’m not taking anything away from Steph, but I felt I deserved the Most Valuable Player. That stays with me.”

That’s very Kobe Bryant of you to turn that into fuel. Defining the MVP Award is an annual discussion that nobody agrees on.

I could get into how Harden was the old-school, traditional stats MVP, how that ignores how Steve Kerr used Curry, and how that opened up the Warriors’ offense to championship levels. Curry put up numbers, but he was also the distraction, the bright star that Kerr used to open up looks for Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and others. Curry’s strength was not just what he did with the ball in his hands, but his gravity to draw defenders even when he didn’t. Did the Warriors stay healthier than the Rockets? No doubt. Should Curry be penalized for that?

It’s simple for Harden — if he can put up those numbers again, if he can be the fulcrum of a top offense, he will be in the discussion for MVP again. And, if he can lead the Rockets beyond the conference finals, nobody will talk about that MVP snub anyway.