It’s decision day for Dwight Howard, or at least that’s the consensus.
The Golden State Warriors have gone from the longshot to a sneaky frontrunner, as ESPN reported Sunday afternoon that the team is trying to shed cap space to sign Howard outright. That plan involves trading the salaries Andrew Bogut, Richard Jefferson and Andris Biedrins. Then, they would likely have to add a future first-round draft pick or/plus Harrison Barnes or Klay Thompson. Teams willing to take on that type of package would likely a) have lots of cap space and b) be in some sort of rebuilding stage.
With their current cap situation, the Warriors could only obtain Howard through a sign-and-trade with the Los Angeles Lakers, who once claimed that no sign-and-trades would be made. Their stance on that subject has changed, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.
However, Golden State’s attempt to shed salary isn’t directly connected to signing Howard. CBS Sports’ Ken Berger reports that the Warriors are trying to clear up cap space regardless of Howard’s decision. The cleared cap space would allow them to pursue someone like Andre Iguodala, who the Warriors have long been linked to.
Obviously, if the Warriors swung-and-missed on Howard, they’d move on to the next biggest fish, which is Iguodala. But the Warriors sounded pretty sure of themselves about Howard on Sunday, when ESPN reported that they’re willing to move a future first-round pick in attempts to clear cap space. You wouldn’t move assets like a pick or one of your prize youngsters without some sort of certainty, right?
So, it boils down to this: the Warriors want a max free agent, whether that’s Howard, Iguodala or maybe even Josh Smith, if they can pique his interest.