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Dwight Howard has expanded his list of teams in which he's interested to include the Los Angeles Clippers, reports former ESPN and Associated Press scribe Chris Sheridan on his website."He's been watching them a lot," a source Sheridan cites says. "He's intrigued by the Clippers."
Howard has previously asked Orlando to trade him to either the Los Angeles Lakers, New Jersey Nets, or Dallas Mavericks. In turn, the Magic granted Dan Fegan, Howard's agent, to contact those teams in order to work a trade.
The Magic want Howard to re-sign with them long-term, but the free-agent-to-be appears to be determined to leave town. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports Howard sought advice from Carmelo Anthony, who held the NBA world hostage during last season by demanding the Denver Nuggets trade him to the New York Knicks, on how to handle difficult trade situations. "The Magic are destined to lose Howard," Berger says, "once he and his representives" implement the strategies Anthony and LeBron James used to leave their respective teams of late.
Sheridan notes "the Magic have been doing everything within their powers to influence Howard to stay," and one source believes they're attempting to influence Fegan as well. Sheridan's source says Orlando re-signed Fegan client Jason Richardson instead of Andy Miller client Jamal Crawford once the lockout ended in order "to keep Fegan happy."
The Clippers would seem to lack the assets to acquire Howard via trade, having already sent stud shooting guard prospect Eric Gordon, All-Star center Chris Kaman, second-year forward Al-Farouq Aminu, and the Minnesota Timberwolves' unprotected first-round draft pick to the New Orleans Hornets for point guard Chris Paul. As Rookie of the Year award-winner Blake Griffin figures to be untouchable, the Clippers' best offer would likely include third-year center DeAndre Jordan and veteran point guard Mo Williams, among other pieces.
Unless they're able to shed the salaries of Williams and Ryan Gomes, the Clippers would lack the salary-cap space to sign Howard outright as a free agent, leaving New Jersey and Dallas--if it uses the amnesty clause on Brendan Haywood and declines to fully guarantee Lamar Odom's contract--as the only teams who have that option available to them. The L.A. teams, then, must work a trade for Howard; they cannot wait until free agency.