A morning report yesterday suggested that the Lakers were "pushing hard" for Dwight Howard, but nothing seemed to come of it, as follow-up reports indicated that the two teams had been talking for weeks without making a ton of progress. With a few months before the season begins, the Magic don't seem to be in any hurry to move Howard, but the rumors keep trickling in. Here's Wednesday's latest:
- The Cavaliers have inched back ahead of the Rockets as the potential facilitator for a Magic/Lakers deal, according to ESPN.com's Ric Bucher. Bucher says the Cavs are discussing a three-way trade that would see them land Andrew Bynum for a package that includes draft picks and Anderson Varejao. However, nothing is close.
- The Lakers have no interest in taking on Hedo Turkoglu in a deal for Howard, but could be open to taking on Jason Richardson's contract, says Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times.
- There was no face-to-face meeting between Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak and Magic GM Rob Hennigan yesterday to discuss Howard, according to Ramona Shelburne and Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
- While the Cavaliers and Rockets have been involved in trade talks as a potential third-team facilitator, the most substantial talks have been directly between the Lakers and Magic.
- Although Howard will still not commit to signing an extension in Los Angeles, the team is willing to continue its pursuit of him without any assurances. It's not clear if the Magic feel the same way about Andrew Bynum, however.
- The Lakers have been "resistant" to the idea of taking on any bad contracts from Orlando, especially since signing Steve Nash to an expensive three-year deal.
- The latest round of Howard discussions "is starting to hamstring business around the league," and there's a belief that the Lakers or one of the other Howard suitors could pull out of talks at some point this week to focus on other moves, like the Nets did.
- If the Lakers back off of Howard, they'd turn their attention to re-signing Jordan Hill and extending Bynum.