The Dwight Howard sweepstakes continues to grip the NBA's free agency period, as rumors of a three-team trade quite literally refuse to go away. Right when it appeared like the Houston Rockets had leapfrogged the Cleveland Cavaliers as the third and pivotal team in a Howard deal, a report like Ric Bucher's on Wednesday comes out and flips everything on its head:
The Cleveland Cavaliers may have inched ahead of the Houston Rockets as a facilitator in a potential trade that would send Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers, sources said Wednesday.
One source familiar with the talks, though, cautioned not to make too much of that shift just yet.
The Cavaliers would land Lakers center Andrew Bynum for a package of draft picks and veteran power forward Anderson Varejao, according to one league source. The Lakers would receive Howard for Bynum. Orlando would get Varejao and draft picks. The source said this was merely the framework of a deal being discussed.
Still obviously interested in acquiring Bynum, the Cavs remain an ideal trading partner here due to their lack of monetary restrictions at the moment. Varejao and a number of draft picks would serve as a viable parting gift for the Magic in waving goodbye to Howard, and it's quite evident that sending Howard to Los Angeles and Bynum to Cleveland would benefit both teams rather significantly.
Also of note from the ESPN report is how Cavs general manager Chris Grant unexpectedly returned to Cleveland in the middle of Summer League action, and does not plan to return back to Las Vegas anytime soon. Whether this is merely a coincidence or is the byproduct of an impending deal will be known soon enough.