As plenty of teams await to make their pitches in hopes of wooing Dwight Howard away from the Lakers, one option appears to be off the table.
The Lakers won’t deal Howard in a sign-and-trade.
A league source familiar with the Lakers’ front office’s thinking said, “they’ll either resign Dwight or walk away with cap space.”
If Howard were to leave the Lakers after becoming an unrestricted free agent on July 1, they would have plenty of room under the NBA salary cap to pursue free agents in the 2014 offseason. Steve Nash remains the only Lakers under contract heading into the 2014-15 season, worth $9.7 million. The Lakers could then sign two maximum-salary free agents next season and Kobe Bryant, assuming he takes a paycut from the $30.5 million he’s owed next season in the final year of his contract.
The Clippers were reported to hope to send forward Blake Griffin and point guard Eric Bledsoe to the Lakers for Howard. As of last month, Howard had considered the Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, Atlanta Hawks and Golden State Warriors as attractive destinations. But the Clippers and Warriors’ scenarios seem unlikely considering they could only acquire him through a sign-and-trade since they don’t have enough cap space slotted to a maximum deal Howard would receive.
Howard would earn $118 million through five years if he resigns with the Lakers, as opposed to a four-year deal worth $87.6 million with another team.
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org