Whether or not the Lakers would be willing to sign and trade Dwight Howard is likely only something Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss know for sure, and maybe they don’t even know. What I can guarantee is that they haven’t shut the door completely on the idea, as reported earlier this week. While the Lakers can’t receive a player via sign and trade, as I broke down yesterday, that does not mean the Lakers won’t be able to get solid assets in return. All that means is the likes of Chris Paul, Josh Smith, and Monta Ellis can only join the Lakers by signing the mini mid-level exception, which isn’t happening. The likelihood of completing a sign and trade relies almost entirely on the Lakers plans going forward, specifically regarding the summer of 2014. Any possible deal the Lakers might make would have to include cap-friendly contracts for 2014 and beyond. Pair that with only a handful of teams being “in the run” for Howard and the assets the Lakers could get in return begin to become clearer and clearer. By taking a team-by-team look at sign and trade possibilities for team’s with interest in Dwight, we should be able to figure out exactly who the Lakers could expect in return. Los Angeles Clippers We’ll start close to home, considering the Clippers made the biggest sign and trade news recently. With their on again, off again talks with the Celtics regarding a Kevin Garnett, Doc Rivers, and DeAndre Jordan swap, it’s not very certain what assets the Clippers will have left. Assuming the KG/Doc trade goes through, which appears to be where we’re leaning at this point, the Clippers most valuable asset will be Eric Bledsoe. And while he’s potential has greatly outweighed his actual performance at this point, he’s still someone that should be coveted. However, it would take a whole lot more, specifically Blake Griffin. A deal surrounded around Griffin and Bledsoe, which is what was reported, is a deal that the Lakers would have to greatly consider, and likely the most appealing deal possible. Houston Rockets The other big players in the Howard Sweepstakes have been the Houston Rockets. They currently sit very close to the edge of being able to offer Howard a max contract. However, they’re making efforts to move Thomas Robinson’s $3.5 million dollar contract to create enough cap space for Dwight. However, even then, that would put the Rockets right at the edge of the salary cap. Instead, the Rockets are rumored to have a proposed deal of Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin for Howard. For the Lakers, this should be an easy “No” response. In theory, adding a young, solid defensive center in Asik and a point guard who played incredibly well under Mike D’Antoni makes lots of sense. But take a look at those contracts for the 2014-15 seasons for these too.