The Golden State Warriors are continuing their pursuit of Dwight Howard by attempting to shed several contracts to make room for his max contract. ESPN first reported that the Warriors were attempting to trade at least three players in an effort to free up exactly $30 million in cap space to land the center. While they believe they have a real shot at landing Howard, trade partners have been hard to find. Now, the Utah Jazz appear to be an option.
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Marc Stein of ESPN reports that the Jazz and Warriors are negotiating a trade for Andrew Bogut. Golden State has been shopping Bogut, Richard Jefferson and Andris Biedrins. Bogut is the only player with real trade value out of those three and would help the Jazz. Utah has plenty of space cap space to fill up holes for the short-term. They recently lost Al Jefferson in a deal with the Charlotte Bobcats and Paul Millsap is expected to be headed elsewhere in free agency. That leaves a spot for Bogut to play alongside Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors, giving the Jazz a young, but talented team. Bogut has one year remaining on his contract, giving Utah plenty of flexibility financially.
Golden State emerged as a true favorite to land Howard in the past 24 hours after reporting that their meeting with the center went "very, very well." The issue will be whether or not they can clear enough financial space to afford him. The team already used their amnesty provision on Charlie Bell, leaving them few options outside trades like this one with the Jazz.
Golden State will also seek and a sign-and-trade deal with the Los Angeles Lakers. The team is starting to throw in the towel, believing they have little chance at re-signing the center. If Golden State can work out a trade for Bogut and a sign-and-trade deal, they should be all set.
If Golden State cannot work out their financial situations, the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks will remain the clear favorites for Howard. The Rockets offer the chance to play with developing super star James Harden. They also already have the financial plan in place to give Howard the best deal available. The Dallas Mavericks have Dirk Nowitzki and the chance to land another super star in free agency next summer.
If the Warriors can pull of the Bogut deal, they are well on their way to having Howard in a yellow jersey come next season. If they truly are a favorite to land the center, this trade is crucial to really getting him.