It’s a bird; it’s a plane! No, it’s Dwight Howard and he’s landing in Los Angeles after a 4-player trade completed Thursday night. The Lake Show’s franchise player, Kobe Bryant, is rumored to be thrilled that Howard is joining the squad without having to lose his wingman Pau Gasol.
Sources close to the process told Stein and ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Ramona Shelburne that a trade call with the league office has been scheduled for Friday to secure the necessary NBA approval to make the deal official.
Lakers forward Pau Gasol had been in and out of talks, sources told Shelburne, before ultimately being excluded.
One source briefed on Howard’s plans told Stein that the All-Star center will indeed stand firm on his intent to play out the 2012-13 season without extending his contract so he can become a free agent on July 1, 2013. Going that route will enable Howard to decide how comfortable he is in Los Angeles before deciding whether to re-sign with the Lakers or join the Dallas Mavericks, who will have the requisite salary-cap space to sign Howard and remain one of his preferred destinations from his original list of three teams (Brooklyn Nets, Lakers and Mavericks).