As Dwight Howard ponders the different paths he can choose in free agency while fans begrudgingly wait for his big announcement, the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers are busy preparing their contingency plans by outlining the structure of a possible sign-and-trade deal.
The situation is entirely fluid at this point, but if Dwight Howard elects to sign with the Warriors and if the Warriors are unable to clear $20 million in cap space by trading away veterans on expiring deals, they'd need the Lakers to facilitate a sign-and-trade.
That's where L.A.'s latest demands come into play. The Lakers want Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes in any such deal, according to Mike Bresnahan of the L.A. Times:
If the Warriors can't find enough takers for their three high-priced veterans, a trade with the Lakers is the only way to get Howard.
It will cost them Barnes and Thompson.
The Warriors are trying to avoid that situation, though, by negotiating with the Utah Jazz, Cleveland Cavaliers and a few other teams that are under the cap to get rid of the contracts of Andrew Bogut, Richard Jefferson and Andris Biedrins.
The reported demands from the Lakers may only be the starting point of negotiations on such a deal, and their asking price could still come down, but that's a hefty price tag as it stands. Expect Golden State to pursue all other opportunities around the league before they consider giving in to L.A.'s reported demands.
Then again, Dwight could decide he wants to join a different team and render the entire discussion moot in a matter of seconds. And thus, we wait.