While the Lakers are unlikely to make a major move today, the team is exploring smaller moves, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Wojnarowski tweets that the Lakers are offering Steve Blake, Chris Duhon, Devin Ebanks, and Darius Morris in search of second-round picks.
Given Blake's undesirable contract, which pays him $4MM this year and next, it's unlikely that the Lakers will be able to move him without giving up a pick of their own. I'd also be surprised if L.A. could land a second-rounder for Duhon. Ebanks and Morris could draw some interest though, as both players are young and on minimum-salary contracts.
If the Lakers were to move one or two players for picks, it would give the team the opportunity for a late-season free agent addition with the free roster spot(s). Alternately, it could simply allow the team to reduce its luxury-tax bill a little.
Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld took to Twitter today to field a variety of trade-related questions from his followers. Some of Kyler's tweets were particularly notable, so let's round up the highlights below (all links go to Twitter)....
We heard almost a month ago to the day that the Lakers had made Steve Blake and Chris Duhon available via trade, and that hasn't changed even with Steve Nash out, according to Chris Mannix of SI.com (Twitter link). Mannix reports that the Lakers have continued to dangle the two point guards in trade talks, but, unsurprisingly, neither player is drawing much interest. Here are a few more updates out of the Western Conference:
A recent Marc Stein report for ESPN.com suggested that the Lakers had let it be known around the NBA that Chris Duhon and Steve Blake are available. However, according to GM Mitch Kupchak, the Lakers aren't actively seeking trades at this point. Of course, as Kupchak suggests to Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times, that's due in part to the calendar rather than the Lakers' roster.
"This time of year, teams are not looking to make deals," Kupchak said. "They're evaluating their team and if anything they're going to cut players as they go into the season."
Could that change when regular-season rosters are set and injuries or playing-time concerns begin to accumulate?
"Some guys may not be happy if they're not playing as much as they thought they'd play or their contract's running out and they're concerned about their next contract," Kupchak said. "It's too early right now. There's a lot of energy and excitement right here. Everybody's pretty happy. So we'll just see how it plays out the next month or two."
The Lakers' backcourt is pretty crowded for now, with nine guards in camp, including four at the point: Steve Nash, Duhon, Blake, and Darius Morris. It's a near-certainty that at least one or two of those nine guards will be cut within the next couple weeks, but the four point guards all have a reasonable claim to a roster spot. Duhon and Blake also both have guaranteed money due beyond this season, making them better candidates to be traded than released.
The Lakers have "made it clear to the rest of the league" that Steve Blake or Chris Duhon are on the trading block and could be had in a deal, according to ESPN.com's Marc Stein. No trades involving either player are imminent, but Stein wonders if the duo could draw more interest down the road when injuries begin to pile up around the league and outlooks aren't so "rosy."
Blake, 32, has suffered a dip in production since joining the Lakers two seasons ago, and still has two years remaining on his contract at $4MM annually. As such, Duhon could be the more attractive trade target for any interested teams. The 30-year-old hasn't been at the top of his game in recent years either and is also under contract for two more years, but his $3.75MM salary in 2013/14 is only guaranteed for $1.5MM.
Within Stein's piece, the ESPN.com scribe adds that if the Lakers are able to move Blake or Duhon, it's possible the team could re-add Derek Fisher to its roster, assuming the veteran point guard is still on the market. Considering the Lakers are ineligible to re-sign Fisher until March 15th, 2013, the one-year anniversary of their trade that sent him to Houston, it's very possible the 38-year-old will have found work elsewhere by then.
Eric Pincus is one of many NBA writers changing affiliations as the season approaches, heading from HoopsWorld to the Los Angeles Times, where he'll cover the Lakers. He gets a head start on his new gig in today's piece for HoopsWorld, as he wonders whether the team's improvements to its bench will be enough this season. He's got more on the Lakers, and we'll pass along that and other updates out of the Pacific Division.
1:34pm: Ken Berger of CBS Sports has tweeted a number of the details on the traded draft picks in the deal. We've updated the list below to reflect the protection on those picks.
12:19pm: The Magic, Lakers, Nuggets, and 76ers have completed their trade call with the league office, making Dwight Howard a Los Angeles Laker, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (via Twitter). The Magic officially announced the transaction in a press release this afternoon.
The details of the massive four-team swap can be found in our post from yesterday that tracked updates as they came in. But here's a quick recap of how the deal looks from each team's perspective based on what's been reported so far, with players' 2012/13 salaries in parentheses. If anything changes when the teams make their official announcements, we'll update this post to reflect that.
Acquire: Arron Afflalo ($7,750,000), Al Harrington ($6,687,400), Josh McRoberts ($3,135,000), Maurice Harkless ($1,731,960), Nikola Vucevic ($1,719,480), Christian Eyenga ($1,174,080), protected 2014 first-round pick from Nuggets1, protected 2015 first-round pick from Sixers2, protected 2017 first-round pick from Lakers3, Warriors' 2013 second-round pick from Nuggets, conditional 2015 second-round pick from Lakers4
Trade: Dwight Howard ($19,536,360), Jason Richardson ($5,799,625), Chris Duhon ($3,250,000), Earl Clark ($1,240,000)
The Magic also create a trade exception worth about $17.8MM in the deal, as outlined here.
Acquire: Andre Iguodala ($14,968,250)
Trade: Arron Afflalo ($7,750,000), Al Harrington ($6,687,400), protected 2014 first-round pick from Nuggets1, Warriors' 2013 second-round pick
Acquire: Andrew Bynum ($16,889,000), Jason Richardson ($5,799,625)
Trade: Andre Iguodala ($14,968,250), Maurice Harkless ($1,731,960), Nikola Vucevic ($1,719,480), protected 2015 first-round pick2
Los Angeles Lakers
Acquire: Dwight Howard ($19,536,360), Chris Duhon ($3,250,000), Earl Clark ($1,240,000)
Trade: Andrew Bynum ($16,889,000), Josh McRoberts ($3,135,000), Christian Eyenga ($1,174,080), protected 2017 first-round pick3, conditional 2015 second-round pick4
1 The lesser of the Nuggets' and Knicks' first-rounders.
2 Top-14 protected in 2015, 2016, top-11 in 2017, top-8 in 2018; if the pick still hasn't been conveyed after four years, the Magic will receive 2018 and 2019 second-rounders instead of a first-rounder. The pick cannot be conveyed until the Sixers meet their draft pick obligations to the Heat, which could delay the Magic from getting a first-round pick until 2017.
3 Top-5 protected in 2017 and 2018, unprotected in 2019. The pick cannot be conveyed until the Lakers meet their draft pick obligations to the Suns, which would prevent the Magic from getting a first-round pick if the Lakers fail to make the playoffs the next three years. If that takes place, the Magic will receive 2017 and 2018 second-rounders instead.
4 Top-40 protected; if the pick isn't conveyed in 2015, the Magic will not receive it.
11:18am: SI.com's Sam Amick tweets that McRoberts will be heading to Orlando in the deal, rather than to Denver. Wherever McRoberts ends up, it seems the Lakers will be shipping him out to make the salary figures work.
10:55am: Coon corrects himself (via Twitter), suggesting that Bynum's and Eyenga's salaries aren't quite enough to absorb Howard's and Duhon's. Here's how it looks from the Lakers' perspective, by my calculations:
We should hear shortly how the Lakers ultimately work things out, since the conference call with the league to finalize the trade is expected to begin momentarily, tweets Ken Berger.
10:26am: Cap expert Larry Coon clarifies (via Twitter) that the trade exception the Lakers acquired when they dealt Luke Walton to the Cavaliers is big enough to absorb Clark's salary, so Los Angeles wouldn't necessarily have to send out any more players in addition to Bynum and Eyenga.
10:08am: The pick heading to the Magic from the Sixers will be lottery-protected for the first two years, top-11 protected in year three, and top-eight protected in year four, tweets Ken Berger of CBSSports.com. Since the Sixers have already dealt their 2013 first-rounder (lottery protected) to Miami, presumably the one going to Orlando would be for 2015, as Sam Amick of SI.com notes. If the Magic don't get a first-rounder from Philadelphia after four years, they'd get two second-round picks instead, tweets Berger.
9:32am: According to Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld, Josh McRoberts may be headed to Denver in the four-way deal. This makes sense, since by my calculations, the Lakers would be unable to take back Howard, Duhon, and Clark without sending out another player in addition to Bynum and Eyenga.
8:49am: The first-rounder heading from the Lakers to Orlando will be the team's 2017 pick, while the first-rounder from Denver will be the lower of the club's two 2014 first-rounders, tweets TNT's David Aldridge. It's still not clear which first-round pick will be coming from the Sixers, but it figures to be 2015's, since their lottery-protected 2013 first-rounder is ticketed for Miami.
8:26am: Duhon is definitely involved in the four-way deal, as he tells Joshua Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel (Twitter link).
FRIDAY, 7:33am: According to Spears, one of the second-rounders heading to the Magic in the trade will be the Warriors' 2013 second-round pick, from the Nuggets (Twitter link). Orlando will receive one more second-rounder, to bring their total haul to five future draft picks, tweets Kennedy.
Additionally, multiple reports indicate that the conference call with the league to confirm the blockbuster deal will happen no later than about noon eastern today.THURSDAY, 11:41pm: Larry Coon of HoopsWorld and ESPN.com hears point guard Chris Duhon might be going from the Magic to the Lakers (Twitter link). Earl Clark will also go from Orlando to L.A., tweets Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, who reiterates Amick's report that the Magic will get multiple second-round picks in the deal as well.
11:26pm: The Magic are in line for "multiple" second-round picks, writes Sam Amick of SI.com. He also says the Sixers were reluctant to give up Harkless, the 15th overall pick in the draft this past June.
10:47pm: Kennedy hears the Magic may be getting another pick to go along with their three first-rounders in the deal (Twitter link).
10:25pm: The Nuggets could get something additional in the trade, Kennedy tweets. Berger says via Twitter that two sources have cautioned that they have not heard directly from the Magic that they've agreed to the deal. Still, the framework of the deal is in place, Berger tweets.
9:27pm: A source tells Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld that the Magic, Lakers, Nuggets and Sixers have agreed to the framework of a Dwight Howard deal that sends the league's top center to the Lakers (Twitter link). Kennedy tweets that he's unsure of the precise framework, but ESPN.com's Marc Stein hears that the Magic will receive Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Nikola Vucevic, Maurice Harkless and a future first-round draft choice from each of the other three teams in the deal. The Sixers will get Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson. The Nuggets will get Andre Iguodala, and the Lakers will land Howard. Other players are likely to be involved as well, Stein says, although their identities are not yet known. The draft choices going to the Magic are lottery protected, Stein writes.
A conference call with the league office has been scheduled for Friday morning to finalize the deal. Progress on the deal seemed to move swiftly after news of a potential four-team trade broke this afternoon. Earlier reports suggested Gasol would go to the Magic, but that apparently has not materialized. There were also reports that the Lakers could send Devin Ebanks and Josh McRoberts out as part of the trade.
Howard and Bynum are both in the final years of their contracts. Stein hears Howard is unlikely to sign an extension with the Lakers (Twitter link). Sam Amick of SI.com reported earlier that Bynum has had no talks about an extension with the Sixers, who were willing to take him on regardless. Last month a report by Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com suggested the Lakers were willing to roll the dice on Howard, thinking that being around the team's championship culture for a year would entice him to re-sign next summer. The new CBA makes it more lucrative for veterans to re-sign with their teams as free agents as opposed to inking an extension, giving Howard and Bynum further reason to wait it out.
The agreement appears to put an end to months of speculation about Howard's next destination. Howard has been in the middle of nearly constant trade talks since the lockout ended late last year. On multiple occasions he expressed a desire to be traded, and for much of the time the Nets were his primary target. When the Nets took themselves out of the running by re-signing Brook Lopez, Howard began to consider other teams, including the Lakers and Rockets.
The Sixers land the second biggest name in the deal with Bynum. They give up Iguodala, a member of Team USA, in exchange for a legitimate post presence and go-to threat in the paint. They also get Richardson, who will likely step into Iguodala's small forward position.
The Nuggets send away Afflalo, whom they'd just signed to a long-term contract last year, and Harrington, who has three more seasons left on his deal, for Iguodala, a defensive stalwart who made his first All-Star team last season.
The Magic get youth, draft picks and flexibility, though perhaps not as much as they were thought to be getting in other rumored trades. They can get out of Harrington's deal after this season, since the final two years are only partially guaranteed, and they have a player option on Vucevic for 2013/14. They could have $20MM in cap space next summer, as Ken Berger of CBSSports.com notes (Twitter link).
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports first reported that a four-team deal was in the works, along with the initial framework. Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports reported Vucevic's involvement. Eric Pincus of HoopsWorld reported that Gasol would not be in the deal. Chris Broussard of ESPN.com reported the deal was close, and Marc Stein of ESPN.com reported the conference call had been scheduled. Jarrod Rudolph of RealGM.com, Ric Bucher of ESPN.com, and Dei Lynam of CSNPhilly.com also reported detail.
On a day when Team USA's semifinal game against Argentina was expected to dominate the headlines, the Olympics have taken a back seat to an epic four-way trade that will see three 2012 All-Stars changing hands. In a deal that's expected to be officially agreed upon later today, the Lakers will acquire Dwight Howard, the Sixers will land Andrew Bynum, and the Nuggets will get Andre Iguodala, while the Magic acquire a package of players and picks. We already examined some of the reactions to the agreement last night, but the links continue to pour in, so let's round up a few more....