As the entire NBA waits for Dwight Howard to make his free agent decision, the big man is with his camp in Aspen, Colorado, pondering about one of the biggest choices that he will ever make.
You know the teams by now; the Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, Golden State Warriors, Atlanta Hawks, and Los Angeles Lakers are all vying for Howard’s services.
One team that has climbed up the proverbial ladder quite a bit is the Warriors. According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the Warriors made a “real impression” when the met with him on Monday and have “become a factor.”
With that being said, it would be tough for the Warriors to land Howard even if he wants to come to Golden State.
Because the Warriors don’t have the salary cap space to offer him a max contract, they will have to acquire him via a sign-and-trade deal with the Lakers, who are “still insisting ‘no’” to all sign-and-trade deals.
However, Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group reports that the Lakers have no leverage if Howard wants to go to Golden State.
Here’s how that works. If Howard a) doesn’t want to re-sign with the Lakers, b) wants to go to the Warriors, and c) threatens to sign with the Rockets, Mavericks, or Hawks if he doesn’t go to the Warriors, he will almost force the Lakers into dealing him to the Warriors because otherwise, they would get zero compensation for letting him walk.
Therefore, in a possible sign-and-trade scenario, the Warriors plan to hold on to both Harrison Barnes and Klay Thompson, offering perhaps Brandon Rush, Andrew Bogut, and an expiring contract. Unless the Lakers have the nerve to demand more, they will have to take the offer if they want any pieces at all in return for losing their prized center.