With the Orlando Magic determined to move Dwight Howard and the Los Angeles Lakers seemingly bent on landing the All-Star center, the Cleveland Cavaliers once again could help facilitate a deal.
And in return, the Cavs could end up with Lakers center Andrew Bynum, multiple sources told FOX Sports Ohio.
Rumors suggesting these three teams were involved in a potential deal emerged over the weekend. They resurfaced again Wednesday, not long after Bynum and his agent returned from an Alaskan fishing trip.
The trade would send Howard to the Lakers, Bynum to the Cavs, and a handful of draft picks and veterans to the Magic, sources said.
But just as in any trade of this magnitude, there are sticking points.
For one, Howard and Bynum are in the final years of their contracts and are set to become free agents at the end of the 2012-13 season. Also, the trade would involve numerous other players, including those who own what are viewed as “bad” deals, consisting of big money and considerable length.
But the Lakers are confident they can convince Howard to stay with the franchise long-term, particularly once he gets a taste of star-driven Los Angeles, sources said.
As for Bynum, word is he’s a fan of both Cavs coach Byron Scott, a guard with the Lakers during the Magic Johnson-led Showtime era, and Cavs point guard Kyrie Irving, the NBA’s reigning Rookie of the Year.
So much, in fact, that Bynum would be willing to sign an extension if traded to the Cavs, said one source.
Also, several sources indicated Bynum may be tired of playing the role of third wheel behind Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol with the Lakers – and perhaps may now even be the fourth option following the Lakers’ acquisition of Steve Nash (from the Suns).
Bynum, 24, has won two championships with the Lakers and seemingly prefers to play somewhere “where he’s one of the top two reasons a team wins or loses a ring,” said one source close to him.
Meanwhile, new Magic general manager Rob Hennigan is said to be insisting that in order for a deal involving Howard to be consummated, a trading partner will need to take back several bad contracts.
The Lakers, according to one source, would be open to that if it meant landing Howard – provided another team takes a bad contract off their hands as well.
This makes the Cavs, who own a bevy of draft picks and loads of room under the league’s salary cap, a natural when it comes to potential partners who could help facilitate a deal.
Bynum played in 60 of 66 possible games last season, averaging 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds. That included a 30-rebound night against the Spurs and 39-point, 22-rebound outing vs. the Grizzlies.
Howard, 26, played in 54 games before his season ended with back surgery. He averaged 20.6 points and 14.5 rebounds.
The Cavs were previously involved in three-way trade talks with the Magic and Brooklyn Nets centered around Howard, but those fizzled almost as quickly as they began.