Lakers center Andrew Bynum, left, tries to fend off Orlando's Dwight… (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles…)
Dwight Howard may have verbally consented to becoming a Laker for years to come, but there’s still no telling whether Andrew Bynum would be willing to do his part to make a blockbuster trade involving the All-Star centers happen.
Bynum’s agent, David Lee, said Thursday afternoon that his client has not told him whether he would be willing to sign a contract extension with another team besides the Lakers, a move that is widely considered a precursor to any trade involving Howard and the Lakers.
“We’ve never had that conversation,” Lee said. “If we had a conversation every time there was talk about a trade, we’d be talking about other teams more than we would the Lakers.”
[UPDATED, 8:48 p.m.: ESPN’s Ric Bucher is reporting Howard’s agent, Dan Fegan, as saying that his client intends to explore free agency in the summer of 2013 no matter which team trades for him.
“Dwight’s position has remained unchanged since the end of this past season,” Fegan told Bucher. “He fully intends to explore free agency at the end of next season, regardless of what team trades for him, including Brooklyn.”
Brooklyn cannot trade for Howard until Jan. 15 at the earliest after signing center Brook Lopez to a maximum contract for four years and $60 million.]
Howard has signaled that he would be open to signing a long-term extension with the Lakers should Orlando trade the long-disgruntled center, according to RealGM.com. But no moves appear imminent.
A Yahoo Sports report stated that the Cleveland Cavaliers would only be willing to participate in a three-team trade involving Howard if they had assurances that Bynum would commit to them long-term.
Lee said no teams — including the Lakers — have called to discuss any potential trades involving Bynum or preferred destinations for his client, who will become a free agent after next season.
“I think at a point in time someone would like to know where he stands,” Lee said, “but that’s just my feelings.”
Reports that surfaced last week alleging which teams Bynum would be willing to play for long-term bewildered Lee because the agent was on a fishing trip in Alaska with Bynum at the time.
“Neither of us were accessible,” Lee said. “Where that list came from, I have no clue.”
Discussions between the Lakers and Lee about a contract extension for Bynum have not commenced, the agent said.
“I would anticipate” they would start soon, Lee said, “but I leave that up to Jimmy [Buss] and Mitch [Kupchak]. I’ll let that take its natural course.”
Bynum returned to the continental United States earlier this week after catching some halibut and salmon on his trip.
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