|The Lakers will only take the guy on the right. (Getty Images)|
The Lakers continued talks with the Magic on Tuesday for what feels like the millionth time, along with the Nets and Rockets, to acquire Dwight Howard in a trade. Nothing substantive came out of the talks, but one interesting nugget did sneak its way out, courtesy of the L.A. Times:
Orlando wants any trade partner to absorb more players than just Howard, but the Lakers have no interest in also acquiring forward Hedo Turkoglu, 33, who has two more years and a weighty $23.8 million on his contract.
The Lakers, however, are open to taking the slightly more palatable contract of Magic guard-forward Jason Richardson, 31, who has three years and $18.6 million remaining.
This has been a trend in two reported trades, as Richardson was reportedly a key piece of the Nets' eighty-five-player (hyperbole) proposed trade, and not Turkoglu.
Here's the issue. Richardson still has some value. He's a versatile scorer who can create his own and can defend on the perimeter. Yes, there's slippage, but it's not nearly as considerable as it is with Turkoglu, who's older, less mobile, and whose skill have plummeted sharply since his best season with the Magic in 2009.
So the offer is "Well, we won't take this massive contract for a bad player, but if you want, we'll take the more manageable one for the decent player."
What a bargain.
The Magic have played this right the entire way so far, holding out for the right deal, not the fastest one, and with as many suitors as they have, there's no reason to rush. Better to wait to see if someone will take Turkoglu. They need to clear the decks. Any offer that isn't offering to do that isn't trying hard enough. This is Dwight Howard we're talking about, here.
Beggars can't be choosers. But of course, the Lakers aren't beggars.