With training camps and free agency opening up, the trade winds are swirling wildly with rumors abound left and right.
The Los Angeles Lakers have been linked to two of the more notable thought-to-be-available superstars in Dwight Howard and Chris Paul. But how plausible is it that they get a deal done, specifically for Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard?
The ever-present rumors of Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum for Dwight Howard is the popular and most logical swap for Los Angeles and Orlando. The problem is that that swap in and of itself is not enough to complete a deal because it does not satisfy the rules of the CBA. Without getting too technical, here’s a basic breakdown by the numbers.
Dwight Howard’s 2011 salary is around $18 million. The combined salaries of Odom and Bynum can be rounded up to around $24 million. Under the rules of the CBA, teams making trades have to come as close to swapping salary for salary as possible, with the only wiggle room being that teams can trade for players whose salaries are no more than 125% of the salary of the player that they would be bringing in, plus $100,000.
Lets just say that in order for a deal like this to happen, the Lakers and Magic would have to get creative.
Here’s the most likely scenario that would make a deal between the two teams possible:
Lakers receive: Dwight Howard and Hedo Turkoglu
Orlando receives: Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom and Luke Walton
Along with acquiring Howard, the Magic would force the Lakers to take on the 3 years and $34 million left on Turkoglu’s contract. The Lakers ship out the aforementioned duo of Odom and Bynum, while throwing in the contract of Luke Walton who has 2 years and $12 million left on his deal.
The Magic would almost certainly try to negotiate a buyout of Walton upon completion of the trade. The Lakers would have their center of both the present and the future, as well as a solid swingman that is comparable to Odom who can handle the ball and score. The Magic can either buyout Odom’s contract along with Walton’s once the trade is consummated (Odom has a very favorable buyout at around $2.5 million), or they could simply keep Odom on the roster and choose to decline his option after the season ends.
Orlando would have an entire season to decide whether or not Bynum would be a viable replacement for Howard, and if Gilbert Arenas can return to his former self after a full healthy off-season. If they aren’t pleased, they can also decline Bynum’s option at the end of the season and use the amnesty clause on Arenas and start from scratch with a ton of money under the salary cap in 2012.
The rumors and speculation will continue to surface the closer we get to the start of the NBA season. If nothing else, with amnesty clauses, superstars likely on the move and a much smaller free agency period than normal, this will likely be one of the more memorable years in NBA history.