The Golden State Warriors’ pursuit of Dwight Howard is picking up with the All-Star center expected to make his decision by Friday.
Sources told ESPN.com that the team is trying to clear cap space to land Howard outright, as the Los Angeles Lakers insist that they won’t be willing to do a sign-and-trade with their division rivals. They’d rather let him walk.
Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group notes that the Warriors will have to get their payroll in the $30 million range to sign Howard to a $20 million annual salary.
Here’s an excerpt from the ESPN report, explaining the details:
Such a scenario would be challenging, some executives have said, but not impossible. The Warriors have three huge expiring contracts in Andrew Bogut ($14 million), Richard Jefferson($11 million) and Andris Biedrins ($9 million). According to sources, they have tried to unload all three players this week to teams with cap room. Yet, Golden State likely would have to be willing to add assets to any potential deals to get teams interested.
The report goes on to say that the Warriors would willing to tack on a future first-round draft pick to add some appeal to the package. But you’d be foolish to think that teams with cap space wouldn’t ask for Klay Thompson or Harrison Barnes instead–or maybe a first-round pick and Thompson/Barnes.
Barnes and Thompson have proven themselves, whereas a future pick holds plenty of risk, even if it’s in 2014′s deep draft.
As Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld opines, the Warriors would have to be pretty sure of themselves if they are willing to trade a future first-round pick (or/plus one of their prized youngsters) to clear cap space. Otherwise, well, that’d be a waste.
Zach Lowe of Grantland proposes another idea:
Middle way (very tricky one) for GSW might be 3-way deal sending LAL cheap asset (Barnes/Klay) and pick, + big expiring/picks to 3rd team
— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) July 4, 2013
In a vacuum, the ESPN report suggests one thing: the Warriors have a legitimate chance at obtaining the league’s franchise center. Emphasis on “legitimate.”
Golden State is probably still considered the longshot, because the situation remains the same–no trades, yet. But they’re not the clear longshot, because Howard obviously has. some interest in the Warriors, if that makes sense.
Dumping close to $35 million in a day, or maybe a couple more, is quite the task, but the Warriors seem committed.