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Dwight Howard Free Agency Watch: Part 13

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I thought we’d hear something final by last night, but I was wrong.  The big story from yesterday pertained to ongoing reports of a Warriors late push to shed the money necessary to sign Howard outright so that they wouldn’t need the Lakers to participate in a sign&trade.  This led many to speculate that perhaps the Warriors had received word of Howard’s preference.  Pretty late in the night, Marc Stein reported that a) some rival executives believe that the Warriors will be capable of clearing the necessary cap space and b) the Lakers have become open to S&T possibilities.

First, there’s no need to panic.  None of the reports indicate that Howard yet has shown any preference.  This most likely is just a push by the Warriors to even give themselves a shot at this thing.  Secondly, to sign Howard outright, the Warriors would have to unload the salaries of Andrew Bogut, Andris Biedrins, and Richard Jefferson.  While they’re all expiring, if this was a feasible task, don’t you think it would have been accomplished already, earlier in the summer?  The Warriors knew they’d be pursuing Howard.  I’d go so far as to say that making this happen would be close to impossible especially given the duress circumstances in which the Warriors find themselves.  (This shows the importance of planning, years in advance.  Things would sure be easier for Golden State had they not wasted their one-time amnesty provision on Charlie Bell.)

The real threat is the fact that the Lakers reportedly might be amenable to sign&trades.  The question though is how much are the Warriors willing to give up to make this happen.  I saw a report that the Lakers would only consider Thompson AND Barnes, but who knows if that’s credible.  If it’s just one of those two players, obviously the Warriors jump.  And then the question becomes whether some package surrounding Asik and/or Lin is preferable, especially given the ’14 consequences.  This whole thing is a mess but the important thing to keep in mind is that none of these reports pertain to any indication given from Howard.  It’s just the teams themselves bracing for the possibilities.

Next, I truly wonder if Dwight Howard understands that to get him, the Warriors would have to give up a major piece of their rotation.  This goes back to that fiduciary duty theme I’ve been writing about.  And you laugh when I say that, thinking, “come on, he’s not that dumb” but it’s completely possible.  I think back to some years ago when Tracy McGrady was being interviewed about his time in Orlando on some Houston radio station.  The host was asking him about his time with the Magic and he said something along the lines of, “they never gave me any help while I was there but then the year I left they went out and got Steve Francis and Cuttino Mobley.”  Huh?    Yeah.  Some of these players are that out of touch and from the reports, I’m not completely sure that they’re getting the best advice from those who are supposed to be acting in positions of trust.  But I’ll digress.  I’m not going to bore you with legal ethics when you’re already about to lose it from anxiety.

We’re most likely going to hear a decision by sometime today.  Remember, while the Lakers very well may now be willing to engage in sign&trade talks, this comes down to Howard himself.  Where does he want to go?  If he wants to walk to Houston, he can go there outright.  And the interesting thing is that Howard has kept his mouth shut, giving no signs.  The big man has seemed to learn from the past, staying off Twitter and according himself professionally throughout this process.  He very well may already have made up his mind a few days ago.

I won’t give a prediction but it seems the Lakers are out.  Thank you, Kobe.  If Howard wants the Warriors, I can’t fault him.  We’ll just have to wait and see.  I just hope he realizes it’s not that full squad (meaning all three of Curry, Barnes, and Thompson) whom he’ll be playing with.

Howard or not, the one thing I will predict is that regardless of what happens today, the Rockets will come to terms quickly with Josh Smith by the end of the weekend.  I don’t know how I feel about that, but that’s a topic that’s already been beaten to death.

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About the author: Rahat Huq is a lawyer in real life and the founder and editor-in-chief of Red94.net.