Lakers making Dwight Howard push?
Yahoo! Sports reports the Lakers want a commitment from Howard on a contract extension before they agree to a trade with the Magic.
The Lakers and Magic have been in talks over Howard for the past week or so, sources told ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard, but nothing is imminent.
Also, a source familiar with the Lakers' interest in Howard told ESPNLosAngeles.com's Dave McMenamin that the dialogue between Los Angeles and Orlando is "ongoing" but right now a trade would be "very tough to pull off."
While trade talks swirled around him Tuesday night, Howard took in the Los Angeles Dodgers-Philadelphia Phillies game from a luxury suite at Dodger Stadium. He didn't wear a Dodgers hat when he appeared on the jumbotron in the seventh inning to a loud ovation but he was wearing one as he left before the eighth inning. Howard was surrounded by a dozen members of stadium security and LAPD officers as he was escorted to his car as dozens of fans tried to take his picture and recruit him to play in Los Angeles.
When he was asked if he was coming to Los Angeles, Howard simply said, "I'm here now to rehab."
Howard had demanded a trade to the Nets, but talks broke down between the Nets and Orlando last week. Magic GM Rob Hennigan called Howard last week to see if he would consider giving the GM's new regime a chance, but Howard rebuffed the overtures.
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Howard has said he would agree to sign an extension with only one team, and sources have said that team is the Nets.
The Houston Rockets also made a new proposal to the Magic for Howard last weekend and are willing to take on long-term salary commitments from Orlando if they land Howard in Houston.
Last week, sources told ESPN.com the Rockets and Lakers had discussed a multitude of trade scenarios with the Magic. In those talks, the Rockets were offering to serve both as the team that would acquire Howard in a direct trade between the clubs and also as a third team that would participate in a trade that lands Howard with the Lakers and brings All-Star center Andrew Bynum to Houston.
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Sources have said that Hennigan might feel more comfortable taking back a package of youngsters, recent draftees and future first-round draft picks -- while shedding some long-term salary as well -- than taking on Bynum as Howard's replacement and facing a similar challenge in persuading him to commit to the franchise long-term like the Magic have dealt with for months with Howard.
Both Howard and Bynum will be in the final seasons of their current contracts.
Information from ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard and Ric Bucher and ESPNLosAngeles.com's Dave McMenamin and Arash Markazi was used in this report.