After a few days away from Dwight Howard trade talks, the Lakers are back in the hunt for the big man.
According to ESPN, officials from both Los Angeles and Orlando are discussing a deal that would send Howard to L.A. The two sides are meeting on Tuesday, and the Lakers are reportedly pushing hard to make a trade.
Since Howard asked to be dealt last year, the Lakers have always been one of the best potential trading partners for the Magic. Out of any team interested in Howard, Andrew Bynum is the best player that anyone can offer.
The Rockets, Hawks and Nets have been the three other teams that have explored acquiring the center. Brooklyn almost sent Brook Lopez to Orlando, Houston can trade Kevin Martin, and Al Horford would be the centerpiece of an agreement with Atlanta. None of those players are as good as Bynum.
The biggest obstacle in getting a trade done is Bynum and Howard's contract statuses. Both players will become free agents in 2013, and neither one will commit to signing an extension with their potential landing spot.
However, this potential sticking point may not make much of a difference anymore.
Howard has repeatedly stated that he will only sign a new contract with the Nets. He wants to play with Deron Williams in Brooklyn, and the Lakers have been reluctant to give up Bynum for potentially just one season of Howard.
The All-Star center may want to play in Brooklyn, but that almost seems impossible at this point.
The Nets acquired several large contracts this summer through trades and free agency. Joe Johnson, Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, Gerald Wallace and Kris Humphries will all be making eight-figures over the next couple of years. It would be almost impossible for the Nets to get under the salary cap by next summer.
If Howard wants to leave L.A. after just one season and sign with Brooklyn, he'd have to accept their mid-level exception and leave tens of millions of dollars on the table. It would be unheard of for a superstar player to make such a move.
Even with Howard's limited options, Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports says the Lakers are looking to get the center to commit to signing an extension.
The Magic have been reluctant to deal with L.A. because they don't want to lose Howard for just one year of Andrew Bynum. Howard, though, has made it clear that he won't come back to Orlando. They might feel that the offers they are receiving right now are the best they'll get.
The two sides came close last weekend to completing a deal that involved the Cavaliers, but Cleveland backed out of a potential trade.