Lakers fans, go ahead and celebrate this news. But know one key thing — this doesn’t bring the trade any closer to reality.
Still, one of the questions out there in the proposed trade scenarios to get Dwight Howard to the Lakers was the concern he would not re-sign in Los Angeles. And in the past his people have said as much. But he has had a change of heart. That according to the well connected Jarrod Rudolph on twitter.
Sources: Dwight Howard is ready to join Lakers. If traded to Los Angeles Howard will re-sign long-term with team after 2012-13 season.
Chris Broussard of ESPN confirmed this, adding that Howard is now very focused on LA. Again, it’s good news for Lakers fans.
Now, let me throw some cold water on the celebration.
The Lakers willingness to make a move has never been the holdup in getting a deal done — they have been ready to make a trade even without a commitment long-term from Howard. They thought he would come around.
And they’re right — Howard has shredded his public image through this process. He cannot get traded somewhere, play out the string and become a free agent, then start the bidding/rumor cycle again. That would make LeBron James‘ decision look brilliant. Howard has to lock down wherever he goes.
What has held up things has come down to getting Andrew Bynum to commit long term. The Lakers All-Star center is in the last year of his deal and has resisted committing to re-sign in Orlando, which kills a two-team deal.
So the teams have reportedly brought in Cleveland (or maybe Houston) for a three-team deal that sends Bynum to the Cavs with Kyrie Irving (Bynum said he would re-sign there, but saying it and putting pen to paper are different things). In this deal, Anderson Varejao and picks go to Orlando, but is that enough for them? After what they have turned down before? Is that better than the Rockets offer?
All reports have called the three-team talks “preliminary.” As in shaky and a long way from done. And there are questions about how to balance salary (if Cavs take in Bynum but only ship out only Varejao, need more salary to make that work). And from the start, Orlando has been in no rush.
If this doesn’t move fast, the Lakers may spin and just work on re-signing Bynum and keeping that going. ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Ramona Shelburne emphasized this:
Orlando, while willing to trade Howard, is not in a rush. The Magic will wait until they get a deal they like. The Lakers remained dogged in their pursuit of Howard late into the night Wednesday and plan to continue discussions into Thursday, a league source told ESPNLosAngeles.com, but the longer the process drags on, the more it complicates their other offseason business and forces them to consider moving on.
Bottom line: talks will get serious soon — and the Magic do not seem to be moving fast — or this house of cards will crumble, too.
But at least we know Howard is good with it now.