Since free agency has began, phones are ringing non-stop with offers and possible trade scenarios to teams all across the league. The Lakers are definitely not an exception here. Now that Chris Paul has agreed to re-sign with the Clippers, Dwight Howard is now the top free agent on the market. The Warriors are one of the ball clubs trying to get the big man to bring his talents to their city, but they wouldn’t be able to just sign him outright like his other suitors. The Warriors would have to sign and trade for Dwight Howard, meaning the Lakers would sign him to his max contract deal and then ship him up north to the Bay Area, much how the Lakers got Steve Nash last year.
Here’s where it gets interesting. According to RealGM, the Warriors are prepared to offer Los Angeles Andrew Bogut, Harrison Barnes, or Klay Thompson in exchange for Howard and his new contract. This seems to be a smart trade for both the Lakers and the Warriors because it fills both teams needs quite well. The Lakers are in definite need of shooters and taller wing players, Barnes and Thompson fill both of those needs perfectly. However, they will only be receiving one, so which is the better choice?
Thompson would be great should Kobe Bryant not be ready for the start of the season, as he could fill in for him and provide valuable scoring. Barnes would be a great pick as well because he could either boot Metta World Peace from his starting role at small forward or he could offer solid minutes off of a weak bench. They both have their upsides and quite frankly either pick would bolster the Lakers roster which needs a player like Thompson or Barnes.
Then there’s Andrew Bogut who has shown promise of being a top center in the league but just can’t seem to stay healthy for long periods of time. He’d fill the gaping hole Howard would leave and he would act as solid rim defense as long as he’s healthy and on the floor.
Sending Howard to Golden State requires Dwight wanting to go to Golden State in the first place, or else he won’t sign the contract that would end up getting him there. Howard most likely wants to play for a Texas team in Houston or Dallas, so the Golden State trade is a long shot at best, but it is the only deal that gives the Lakers something in return.