The list of favorites, in the minds of those closely following the Dwight Howard free-agency saga, had the Rockets and Lakers at the head of the pack with the Warriors, Mavs and Hawks (in an order of your choosing) behind them.
Yet the Dwight situation remains as fluid as ever and scenarios and teams are leapfrogging each other as we speak.
According to a report from ESPN.com’s Marc Stein and Brian Windhorst, Golden State has put on a frantic late press to try and pick up Howard by attempting to jettison bulky contracts and clearing cap space for him.
In order to afford such a deal, the Warriors have been calling teams with cap space to try and work out trades for the large, expiring deals of Andrew Bogut ($14 million), Andris Biedrins ($9 million) and Richard Jefferson ($11 million):
The Golden State Warriors, increasingly convinced they have a legitimate shot at winning the Dwight Howard sweepstakes, have begun aggressively attempting to trade away players to clear the requisite salary-cap space to sign the All-Star center, according to sources with knowledge of the team’s thinking.
The Warriors were one of five teams granted the opportunity to recruit Howard in an in-person meeting this week. ESPN.com reported Wednesday that, in perhaps the first surprising development in the wake of those meetings, Warriors officials “made an impression” on Howard to the point that they had gained ground on the two teams — the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks — widely presumed to have the only legitimate shot at stealing Howard away from the Lakers.
The Lakers have been adamant for weeks they would prefer to let Howard leave for nothing and bank the resultant salary-cap space in the summer of 2014, with many rival executives likewise convinced that L.A. would have real reservations about helping Howard land with a division rival.
So sources say that the Warriors, in an effort to manufacture some financial flexibility to help their chances, have begun calling teams with salary-cap space to try to entice them to take expiring contracts off their books so they can clear a $20 million hole for Howard.
The Warriors have three huge expiring contracts … According to sources, they have tried to unload all three players this week to teams with cap room.
Yet, Golden State likely would have to be willing to add assets to any potential deals to get teams interested. Sources say the Warriors have been willing to attach a future first-round pick to move one of their bad contracts since last February’s trade deadline, but potential partners tend to ask for prized youngsters such as Harrison Barnes or Klay Thompson – two of the more attractive young players in the league — when the subject of absorbing one of the Warriors’ big contracts is broached.