NBA Trade Rumors: Breaking Down Favorites in West If Dwight Howard Joins Lakers

If the latest rumors are correct, Dwight Howard will be heading to the west coast soon enough to put on a purple and gold jersey for the Los Angeles Lakers.

That would, of course, affect the balance of power out west. 

According to Fox Sports Ohio's Sam Amico, league sources are indicating that trade talks are about to re-open, especially concerning a three-team trade involving the Lakers, Orlando Magic and Cleveland Cavaliers: 

Several recent reports said one target could be the Cavaliers—with Bynum going from the Lakers to the Cavs, Howard going from the Magic to the Lakers, and the Magic receiving multiple unspecified players and draft picks in return. 

Such a trade would be complicated, with the Cavs needing assurances from Bynum that he'd sign an extension. The Cavs would also likely need to be willing to take back a player with a large and lengthy contract from the Magic. On top of all that, sources said, the Magic did not want the spare parts that would have come their way.

Next week, however, that could change. According to sources, it all depends on if the Magic finally accept what they can get for Howard now, or whether they are willing to risk losing him for less, or eventually, for nothing.

So, if Howard is indeed traded across the country, how will the balance of power in the Western Conference look? 

Right now, there are three teams that stand out above the rest in the West. The Memphis Grizzlies, Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Clippers are all fringe contenders, but none are in the same tier as the three elite members of the conference. 

Here's how they stack up, operating under the assumption that Howard is manning the painted area in the Staples Center. 


3. San Antonio Spurs

There is no disrespect meant to the San Antonio Spurs here, as they're basically competing with two super teams...

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