The dutiful Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports agents within the NBA believe a three-team trade involving Dwight Howard, Andrew Bynum, and Andrew Bogut could be possible if Orlando does decide to trade Howard. In the deal, the Los Angeles Lakers would receive Howard, the Milwaukee Bucks would obtain Bynum, and the Orlando Magic would acquire Bogut.
Berger reported earlier Wednesday that Lakers executive Jim Buss, who scouted Bynum for Los Angeles prior to the 2005 NBA Draft and remains close to him, would be willing to trade the 24-year-old "for the right deal." Berger writes that NBA player agents believe Bogut would be "a better fit" for Orlando than Bynum, prompting the specuation of the above-mentioned three-team trade.
Howard, the league's undisputed top center, can become a free agent in the summer of 2012 and has said he would like to play in a bigger market, though it's important to note neither he nor his agent has never requested a trade from the Magic. Though every team would love to have his once-in-a-generation talent in his employ, the Lakers are among the few who could offer a) Howard the money, market, and chance for a championship he desires and b) a reasonable trade package to Orlando for his services. But if Orlando prefers Bogut to Bynum, then perhaps Milwaukee could get involved. That appears to be the thought process driving the agents Berger cites in his report.
More on Bynum and Bogut follows the jump.
Bynum has missed 124 games over the last four seasons due to various injuries, so his durability has indeed come into question. In his most recent season, the Saint Joseph (New Jersey) High product averaged 11.3 points, 9.4 rebounds, two blocks, and 57.4 percent shooting for L.A.
Bogut, who turned 27 in late November, has more polish than Bynum, but less upside. He too has battled injuries, missing 76 games over the last three seasons. In 2010/11, he took a step backward, as he tried to return from offseason surgery to fix his right (shooting) elbow, wrist, and hand. He averaged 12.8 points, 11.1 boards, and a league-leading 2.6 blocked shots, finishing sixth in Defensive Player of the Year voting; Howard finished first, taking home the honor for the third consecutive season.
If Howard makes clear to Orlando President of Basketball Operations Otis Smith that he does not intend to return to the Magic, Bynum and Bogut represent two of the most attractive replacements for him, though obviously neither truly compares to Howard. Bynum is owed $14.9 million in the forthcoming season, with a team option valued at $16.1 million for the 2012/13 campaign, according to ShamSports. Bogut's contract calls for him to be paid $12 million in the coming season, $13 million in the season thereafter, and $14 million in 2013/14, according to the same site. Neither he nor his team has an option on the deal.