Orlando is reportedly "very close" to sending the center to the Lakers in a blockbuster four-team trade. While Adrian Wojnarowski reported the trade before and said nothing was imminent, ESPN's Chris Broussard now says a deal could get done soon, possibly before the weekend.
A potential trade would include several stars, including both Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. While Bynum has been at the center of talks all summer, it was thought that Gasol would remain in L.A.
The Nuggets and 76ers would help facilitate the trade. Denver would receive Andre Iguodala, while Philadelphia would get Bynum. Gasol and Aaron Afflalo would go to Orlando and L.A. would get Howard and Al Harrington.
The Magic have been unwilling to make a trade in which they receive veterans with long contracts. Both Gasol and Afflalo have multiple years left on their deals, so there's a good chance at least one of those players would be moved during the season.
It has been Orlando's stance that they get younger and free up salary cap space in any potential trade. They would likely receive draft picks in a deal, but acquiring Gasol and Afflalo doesn't help their salary cap situation.
The Lakers have been reluctant to move both Bynum and Gasol in the same trade, but might be willing to pull the trigger if they also got Harrington in return. Howard has stated that he won't sign an extension upon being moved, but he would likely re-sign with Los Angeles in the offseason.
Howard requested to be traded at the beginning of the summer, claiming he would leave Orlando as a free agent in 2013. The Magic have tried to convince him to stay, but to no avail.
Los Angeles has been in the driver's seat to land Howard ever since the Nets fell out of the running about a month ago. The Rockets have also shown interest in the All-Star, but haven't made much headway with the Magic.
Bynum has been in the middle of most discussions, but teams have been leery of acquiring him because he will also be a free agent in the summer. According to realgm.com, the 76ers would trade for Bynum, even without assurances that he won't leave after just one season.