Lakers sweep back into Dwight Howard talks


The Lakers pulled off an extraordinary trade last week. Can they do it again this week?

They found themselves back in negotiations Tuesday for Dwight Howard after a multi-team deal collapsed that would have sent the unhappy Orlando Magic center to the Brooklyn Nets.

In a key development, the Lakers are slowly becoming more open to taking back a fairly bad contract, the one for Orlando swingman Jason Richardson, though they still might need to involve a third team to acquire Howard.

“They’re still trying,” said a person familiar with the talks who was not publicly authorized to speak.


Center Andrew Bynum, an All-Star for the first time last season, continues to be the crux of the Lakers’ plan to land Howard, who has one more year and $19 million on his contract with Orlando.

Multiple media reports indicated that the Houston Rockets were also engaged in talks with Orlando and could be part of a three-team trade that sent Bynum to the Rockets. Bynum, 24, has one more year on his contract for $16.1 million.

Howard, 26, has been unhappy in Orlando for almost a year. The six-time All-Star had surgery almost three months ago to repair a bulging disk in his back, a procedure that caused him to withdraw from the U.S. Olympic team. The Lakers seem satisfied there will be no long-term complications from it.

Richardson, 31, has three years and $18.6 million left on his contract. He averaged 11.6 points and 29.5 minutes last season with Orlando. The Lakers could use him as the backup to Kobe Bryant.

Forward Hedo Turkoglu, 33, also has a bad contract with Orlando -- two more years, $23.8 million -- but the Lakers have no interest in taking that one back in a trade.

It looked like the Lakers might be done with big moves after acquiring point guard Steve Nash last week from Phoenix for two first-round picks, two second-round pick and about $2.5 million in cash.


But the Nets’ inability to pull off a trade for Howard, who last week publicly stated he wanted to play for them, left the door open for Orlando to keep talking with other teams.


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