There has been a lot of Dwight Howard news this weekend. The reports from Ramona Shelburne and Marc Stein that the Lakers and Clippers might be interested in a deal that would send Howard to the Clips in exchange for Blake Griffin and Eric Bledsoe were quickly refuted, but were just as rapidly replaced with rumors that the team might be more open to agreeing to a sign and trade.
But if Howard does leave, and the Lakers are left in a position they weren’t expecting to be in, they might not do anything to replace Dwight, according to ESPN.
Should Howard decide to leave the Lakers, sources said, several options have been discussed internally in Lakerland. Among them: The Lakers could simply let him walk, go into the season with Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Steve Nash as their centerpieces — as they had planned in July 2012 before the trade for Howard materialized — and focus on slicing into their luxury-tax bill.
This would make the most sense if the team is still hoping to make a splash in the summer of 2014, when they are expected to have copious amounts of cap space. If Howard does leave, they’ll be able to cut into their massive luxury tax bill that’s on the horizon. While many fans will see that as the team accepting another sub-par season, in reality it puts them in a better position to succeed next summer, which has been their goal for years now.
Obviously, the front office has been looking at the 2014 offseason as a new beginning for quite some time, as every contract besides Steve Nash’s will end before or during that particular offseason. Howard leaving would certainly change their plans a little bit, but the team seems committed to their initial plan.
Basically, there are several options facing the Lakers right now, but as we already knew, until Dwight Howard makes his decision, all this speculation is purely that. Speculation.
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