The Los Angeles Clippers are considering offering Blake Griffin and Eric Bledsoe to the Los Angeles Lakers for Dwight Howard in a sign-and-trade deal this Summer, reports Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN. A source close to the Lakers, however, says the Lakers will "never do it" and have fully resisted offers from the Clippers, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
Reports that the Lakers will not do business with the Clippers may be "overblown" however, Shelburne adds.
On Friday rumors of Chris Paul and Howard wanting to play together surfaced. Since then, the Clippers have been in trade talks with the Boston Celtics as they make an attempt to land Doc Rivers and Kevin Garnett, and have been hesitant to add Bledsoe into trade discussions.
Can a sign-and-trade happen fit under salary restrictions, though?
Yes, the Lakers can send out Howard in a sign-and-trade scenario as long as the team receiving him is under the "apron", according to Larry Coon's collective bargaining agreement FAQ:
Starting in 2013-14, the team receiving the player cannot be above the "apron" ($4 million above the tax level) after the trade. A team above the apron can receive a player in a sign-and-trade if the trade reduces the team's payroll and the team finishes the trade below the apron.
The tax level has not been specifically announced, but for the 2011-2012 season it was $70 million. If the Clippers can keep their salary under $74 million, then a sign-and-trade would work under league rules.
Whether it fits within league regulations may not matter though, as the Lakers front office appears to be firmly against sending Howard across the hall in a sign-and-trade.
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