Dwight Howard

Report: Bynum extension in Cleveland shows challenges of Howard trade


On one hand this is not new news — everyone involved knew Cleveland would not trade for Andrew Bynum as part of a three-team deal that sends Dwight Howard to the Lakers unless Bynum was willing to commit long term.

And he might, in the past Cleveland was one of the three teams on a list of where he wants to land (Houston and Dallas were the others outside Los Angeles). While saying you would do it in the abstract and putting a pen to paper on a contract are very different things, there is at least a conversation to be had.

But a story by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo highlights why this trade is not just going to snap together overnight.

“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.

The deal as it stands now would send Howard to the Lakers, Bynum to the Cavaliers, and Anderson Varejao plus multiple picks to Orlando. But Orlando also wants to get rid of ugly contracts like Jason Richardson and/or Hedo Turkoglu and where they land add to the challenges.

Right now, it all comes back to Orlando and what they want. They are trying to create leverage and a bidding war, to get more picks or unload more contracts. They are being patient, playing hard to get. But you can hear the frustration with that strategy in leaks coming from people close to Howard or in Cleveland — the sides that want the deal done most of all. They are frustrated with what they see as a moving goal line in the same way Brooklyn was before.

Houston is still in the mix with picks, young players and the ability to take on salary. They would do it even to rent Dwight Howard. And it is becoming more and more clear what Orlando wants to do is blow the whole thing up and rebuild through the draft (remember new Magic GM Rob Hennigan came out of the Oklahoma City organization, where building through the draft was is prized).

So we sit and wait for Orlando to make a move, then for Cleveland to see if it can convince Andrew Bynum to stay and play with Kyrie Irving.

The Lakers still like Bynum as part of their roster and if this drags on too long they may start talking to him about him staying with them long term instead. Los Angeles may move on.

Khris Middleton dunks, Jimmy Butler can’t stop him (VIDEO)

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Khris Middleton has more expectations and more pressure on him after a breakout season in Milwaukee, followed by him getting him PAID this summer.

Well, he looked pretty good on this play against the Bulls, making the steal then throwing down despite Jimmy Butler‘s efforts to stop him.

Middleton finished with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting for the Bucks. However, Butler had the last laugh as he went off for 23 points on 12 shots and led the Bulls to the (meaningless) preseason win.

Somebody looks comfortable: Paul George drops 20 in first quarter

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Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.

His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.

George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).

As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.