One of the biggest problems for the Los Angeles Lakers during trade talks to acquire superstar center Dwight Howard has been taking on a big contract in return. That large contract will either be Hedo Turkoglu or Jason Richardson, and with recent developments it appears that Richardson may be the player shipped to another team along with Howard.
With Richardson set to make $18.6 million over the next three seasons and the Lakers reluctant to take on more salary with a huge luxury tax on the horizon, GM Mitch Kupchak and company were thought to no longer be in the running to acquire Howard. Now, that doesn’t appear to be the case according to Mike Bresnahan of the L.A. Times:
Key development in Lakers’ pursuit of Dwight Howard: They’re more open to taking back contract of G-F Jason Richardson (3 yrs, $18.6 mill).
— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) July 11, 2012
Once the new broke of the Lakers potentially working on a three-team trade with the Houston Rockets in order to land Howard, the big question was whether or not Los Angeles was willing to take on a big contract in return. Apparently, the Lakers are open to the prospect of taking on Richardson’s contract and that may be the reason for the trade talks heating up with the Orlando Magic once again.
If Los Angeles is willing to receive Richardson from Orlando in this potential blockbuster, the Lakers might be leaning towards parting ways with Metta World Peace via the amnesty clause. With World Peace off the books, the hit to the luxury tax for the Lakers won’t nearly be as bad as it would be with both Richardson and the veteran forward. There’s even a chance World Peace may be involved in this trade to help make the numbers work.
A free agent option the Lakers will most probably seriously consider, if World Peace is amnestied or traded, is Grant Hill. With both Hill and Richardson having the ability to play shooting guard and small forward, the Lakers will not feel the blow of losing one of their starters in World Peace.
It remains to be seen how this might unfold, but if the Lakers do decide to pull the trigger on this deal, a few minor changes will almost certainly follow.