The "overriding expectation persists" that the Lakers won't faciliate a sign-and-trade of Dwight Howard this summer, but the team hasn't completely dismissed the idea, according to Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com. The Lakers are willing to listen to just about any idea, and there are indications the Lakers wouldn't dismiss a formal offer from the Clippers of Eric Bledsoe and Blake Griffin for Howard, the ESPN scribes report.
Stein and Shelburne hear the Rockets are likely to offer Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin for Howard in an attempt to open enough cap space for both Howard and Chris Paul. Though Asik, a cheaper basket protector than Howard, and Lin, who thrived with the Knicks under current Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni, may be enticing figures for the Lakers, L.A.'s brass would ultimately prefer not to take on any salary if Howard walks.
The Lakers have maintained a dialogue with Howard's representatives throughout the spring and are still confident they can re-sign the Dan Fegan client, even though Howard is intent on listening to pitches from other teams. The team's main priority, beyond re-signing Howard, is reducing its luxury tax bill and positioning itself for the summer of 2014. As it stands, no Laker aside from Steve Nash is signed beyond next season.