Los Angeles Lakers Free Agency Rumors: Dwight Howard Sign-And-Trade Refused as Atlanta Hawks Best Option with Maximum Contract

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Jun 15, 2013 03:53 PM EDT
Dwight Howard
Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard"

The Los Angeles Lakers and Dwight Howard have some decisions to make. As Howard considers free agency and jumping to another team, the Lakers must decide how they are going to let him walk if they realize re-signing him is not an option. While the team has been very vocal about their intentions of retaining Howard for years to come, but that might not be an option if the All-Star wants a change. The Lakers are making one decision in regards to Howard, they are planning to refuse any kind of sign-and-trade involving him.

The Lakers are apparently fine with banking $50 million in salary and luxury tax savings. Turning down a sign-and-trade would give the team more cap space for available players in 2014 which will include a free agent class of LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. Refusing the sing-and-trade will also make options limited for Howard.

There was the belief that Howard could head to the Los Angeles Clippers in a sign-and-trade deal for Blake Griffin and possibly one other star. Paul and Howard reportedly prefer to play on the same team and Paul opts to stay in Los Angeles, the sign-and-trade was the perfect situation to get Howard on the team as well. Now, neither team seem content with trying that situation.

No sign-and-trade also weakens Houston's chances of signing both Howard and Paul. The Rockets are trying to free up space to sign Howard to a max contract, but it would only be feasible if the team dumped another player since they owe a combined $16.8 million to players like Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin. 

The Atlanta Hawks might be the only option for Howard in this scenario. The team already has the needed cap space to sign Howard to a max contract and they cold still afford to bring on Paul as well. The Hawks would not need some kind of trade deal to make the free agent signing work. Howard reportedly has no interest in returning to his hometown team, but if Atlanta can bring in Paul as well, it might entice Howard.

The Lakers are not looking to take on the salary of another player. They would rather save the money to sign someone down the road. While the Lakers want Howard's future to stay in Los Angeles, they certainly are prepared to just let him walk for something else later on.

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