It’s going to be very difficult for the Golden State Warriors to get Dwight Howard, either through free agency or through a sign & trade deal with the Los Angeles Lakers (becoming more and more likely), but if they manage to somehow get rid of the expiring contracts of Andrew Bogut, Andris Biedrins and Richard Jefferson, they will have enough cap space to add Howard without a need for a trade.
The key in a sign & trade are obviously the Lakers, if Howard actually decides that Golden State are the team for him. Sources and reports from the meetings indicate that Howard was very impressed with what the Warriors presented to him, and the option to play with Stephen Curry might be even more enticing than what the Houston Rockets, with James Harden and potentially Josh Smith, have to offer.
But the Warriors are doing everything they can, which means having a willingness to give up on some very valuable pieces: In fact, everyone is being considered, except for Stephen Curry.
So what are the options? With the Lakers not too keen on a sign & trade, shipping expiring contracts is the only way to clear some cap space. The options? Andrew Bogut, a starting center for most teams in the NBA and a defensive asset, but he does make $14 million next season which makes it slightly complicated.
There is Andris Biedrins, who makes $9 million next season which no one wants to touch at that price, and also Richard Jefferson who makes the same amount, and is another player it’s hard to see finding takers.
Even with teams willing to take these players, it’s hard to believe the Warriors aren’t going to take some contracts back in return. The Warriors, at the moment, have $73 million tied up in salaries for next season, and moving all three players would drop them down to $41 million. Enough to sign Howard, but only if they don’t take any salaries on board, which is hard to believe.
But there’s also the sign & trade with the Lakers. What can make it work? Right now, according to Mark Heisler, the Lakers are going to ask for Harrison Barnes, Klay Thompson and Andrew Bogut in return for Howard, or have Stephen Curry involved in a deal in someway, something the Warriors are likely to reject. There’s also the Bogut, Harrison Barnes and a number one draft pick in return.
How does this end? There’s a good chance that Howard wants the Warriors more than anything, but unlike the deal to the Rockets, offering the same kind of future success and star power next to him, there are too many obstacles in the way, which include the salary cap and the willingness of the Lakers to initiate such a trade, especially with a division rival that finished above them last season.