It appears that the Los Angeles Lakers are prepared to make a serious push for Dwight Howard.
According to Jarrod Rudolph of RealGM.com, the Lakers will offer Andrew Bynum and Metta World Peace to the Magic in exchange for the Magic's All-Star center. The deal would be contingent upon Howard signing a contract extension with Los Angeles.
Orlando would include guard Jason Richardson in any deal that includes Howard. Richardson has one more year left on his deal than World Peace. However, according to Rudolph, the Magic may look to get rid of him in order to sever ties with Dan Fegan, both Howard and Richardson's agent.
Los Angeles has been reluctant to include Bynum in any deal, but it seems they are finally willing to part with the 24-year-old. Bynum emerged as a star last season, averaging 18.7 points, 11.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game.
Bynum, like Howard, is a free agent in 2013 but his commitment to the Lakers has been questioned. As a result, Los Angeles has decided to move him, instead of risking losing him for nothing on the open market.
The news comes just a day after Howard stated that he would only sign a long-term deal with the Nets. The center has reportedly told the Orlando front office that he wants to be traded to the Brooklyn Nets, however, the Magic and Nets have been unable to agree upon a deal, so far. Of all the teams that are looking to acquire Howard, Brooklyn can offer one of the least appealing packages.
According to sources close to ESPN's Chris Broussard and Marc Stein, Magic brass have no interest in a trade involving Brooklyn and that Howard blew his shot at joining the Nets by opting into the final year of his contract before the March trade deadline.
A potential deal with the Nets would include a package surrounding Brook Lopez, Kris Humphries and MarShon Brooks. Brooklyn would also send three future first-round picks to Orlando in the trade.
A trade seems to be the only way that Howard would end up playing for the Nets. Brooklyn reportedly has a deal in place to acquire Joe Johnson from the Hawks. Completing that deal, as well as re-signing Deron Williams, wouldn't leave any room for the Nets to sign Howard as a free agent next summer.
Howard might change his mind about playing in Los Angeles if he comes to the realization that a future in New York doesn't seem very likely.