The Los Angeles Lakers are in a bit of limbo right now as they wait to see what star Dwight Howard will do in free agency and as the LA Clippers try to reshape their team with a huge blockbuster, the other team in the Staples Center must make sure they have a Plan B ready.
According to ESPN.com, the Clippers have been working on a deal with the Boston Celtics for coach Doc Rivers and star forward Kevin Garnett and while that deal is still being worked on, another has come up with a sign and trade of Dwight Howard to the Clippers for Blake Griffin and Eric Bledsoe. That deal has some connections to this one, as the Celtics at first wanted Bledsoe in any deal, while the Clippers wanted to hold onto him just in case they needed or felt they wanted to make that other deal.
Now talk between the two teams has moved and the Clippers appear ready to take DeAndre Jordan and some draft picks for the trade to move along, but it is still hung up on compensation and the transferring of contracts. According to ESPN, the Clippers may have to take on the contract of Jason Terry or Courtney Lee, as Rivers is still under contract, leaving Boston with some leverage in the deal.
The move would shake up the Western conference as well as the NBA and it also gives the Clippers a strong chance to keep Chris Paul, which appears to be the reason all of this is going down anyway. Paul said that he would like to stay in LA, but nothing is guaranteed and with Howard likely leaving the Lakers, some reports have said that the two would like to team up. One rumor had them going to Atlanta, which may have been one reason that the Clippers started this process in the first place.
The team feels that if they land Rivers and Garnett they will keep Paul, but the other deal involving Blake Griffin and Eric Bledsoe to the Lakers for Howard may be another way of ensuring themselves a chance of keeping Paul. They may be able to swing the deals and keep Paul and if they can do that, there is no doubt that the Clippers would be title contenders. All these deals could end up backfiring and that is where the Lakers come in, as they want to sign Howard, but know that he could jump to another team.
The sign and trade would get back a nice haul for the Lakers and the team also has to consider what to do with Pau Gasol. He has been mentioned in trade rumors, but he is getting older and the team needs youth and based on what is going with those deals, the Lakers could try and flip him.