The Los Angeles Lakers inched one step closer to landing Dwight Howard via trade on Thursday with news breaking about the superstar center willing to stay with the Lakers long-term. With assurance that he’d sign a contract extension after next season, the Lakers are ready to make this three-way trade with the Orlando Magic and Cleveland Cavaliers.
The one aspect of the deal that seems to be holding things up is the Cavs getting assurance from All-Star center Andrew Bynum that he’ll sign an extension once he’s traded to Cleveland according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports via Twitter:
Y! Sources: As part of 3-way Dwight Howard deal to Lakers, Cleveland wants assurance Bynum would sign extension. tinyurl.com/7urjgxu
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 19, 2012
The Cavs don’t want to take a chance on trading for Bynum if they can’t keep after next season with teams like the Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets and potentially others in the league prepared to offer a long-term deal to the up-and-coming center in free agency.
It’s hard to argue with the Cavs’ stance here with Cleveland not exactly being the most appealing of places to play in the NBA. Not only is it hard to keep superstar-caliber player in Cleveland, but the Cavs are still feeling the effects of the loss of LeBron James. Owner Dan Gilbert doesn’t want that fiasco to happen all over again if the team starts to rebuild around Kyrie Irving and Bynum.
It has been rumored that Bynum is willing to stay in Cleveland long-term, but apparently Bynum’s agent, David Lee, has yet to speak with the Cavs. If Bynum doesn’t agree to sign an extension with the Cavs after being traded by the Lakers, the Dwight Howard saga may take another turn for the worst.
Without Bynum agreeing to stay in Cleveland long-term, the consensus is that the trade with the Lakers and Magic may begin to fall apart with the Rockets potentially emerging as a third team in the deal once again. Not only will the Lakers have to pursue another team like Houston to get this deal done, but the Rockets may become intent on bringing in Howard rather than Bynum.
Needless to say, the blockbuster trade that would send Howard to Los Angeles all depends on Bynum’s decision on whether or not an extension will be signed with the Cavs.