While most of the basketball world's attention has been focused on the London Olympics, the story that just won't die continues marching on, as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports has the latest trade talks to enter into the rumor mill:
There are other players involved in these fluid talks, but a framework of the possible deal includes Howard and Denver forward Al Harrington going to the Lakers, Philadelphia guard Andre Iguodala going to the Nuggets, Los Angeles center Andrew Bynum moving to the 76ers, and Los Angeles forward Pau Gasol and Denver guard Arron Affalo going to the Magic, sources told Yahoo! Sports.
This deal would close a door on one franchise center (Howard), but open one towards another (Bynum), as the enigmatic center would probably explore free agency in 2013 if dealt to Philadelphia.
By adding the Nuggets and the 76ers to the trade negotiations, LA and Orlando may have found their way around the biggest hurdle of sending Howard to the Lakers -- the Magic's unwillingness to take on Bynum without a guarantee that he would sign long-term.
Pau Gasol wouldn't offer as much upside, but the addition of him and Arron Afflalo would probably be enough to keep Orlando in the playoff picture out East. However, it still wouldn't be nearly as promising a deal long-term as the package the Houston Rockets have reportedly been dangling.
Either way, these talks could end up having a bigger effect on the Mavericks long-term plans than anything the team does on the court in the 2012 season.