Over the last few days, talk of Dwight Howard heading to the Los Angeles Lakers via trade began to heat up with the Orlando Magic potentially working a three-team trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Last night, news broke of Howard finally changing his mind about signing with the Lakers long-term. Apparently, Howard is excited about the prospect of playing in Los Angeles and is willing to sign a contract extension after next season.
The only question now is whether or not the Lakers can get a deal done with the Magic and possibly the Cavs, a third team in the trade. One thing that the Magic have been adamant about of the past few weeks or so in terms of a Howard trade is also sending Jason Richardson and/or Hedo Turkoglu elsewhere as part of the deal.
With the contracts of Richardson and Turkoglu highly overpaid and extremely unattractive for prospective trade partners, the blockbuster trade has been difficult to pull off.
Another aspect of the trade that may be holding things up is the Lakers reluctance to taking Richardson along with Howard. Rumor has it that there’s some tension between Steve Nash and Richardson, and that may become a problem if the two players were to team up once again according to Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio via Twitter:
Whether the Jason Richardson & Nash issue is a “false rumor” or not, I can tell you with confidence Lakers wouldn’t take Richardson.
— Sam Amico (@SamAmicoFSO) July 19, 2012
It remains uncertain at this point in time whether or not a potential rift between Nash and Richardson would be a serious problem. The Magic’s front office is trying to unload all of their bad contracts, but it doesn’t mean a blockbuster trade won’t be made if the Lakers aren’t willing to bring in Richardson.
The most interesting part of this story is Nash being at odds with another player. Over the course of his career, Nash has never had a problem with any player that he’s played with and news of a rift with Richardson is an interesting development to say the least.
There’s no question at this point in time that the Lakers want this deal for Howard to go through and would like to keep Nash happy in Los Angeles. With that being said, the Lakers might be willing to take on other players instead of Richardson such as Turkoglu or Glen Davis.
It’ll be interesting to see how things pan out with the recent developments of Nash’s problems with Richardson and Howard’s new-found desire to sign with the Lakers long-term. Richardson would be a welcome addition to the bench for the Lakers with the ability to be instant offense and stretch the defense with his outside shooting, but not worth the risk of upsetting Nash after signing him to a three-year deal.