Why do people think we need to do a sign-and-trade to get Dwight? We don't

We already know Dwight and Chris are talking, but we don't need the cooperation of the Lakers to get Dwight via sign-and-trade. We certainly don't need to give them Blake Griffin either, or anything for that matter. The Clippers can sign Dwight Howard as a free agent outright, and here's how:

Dwight Howard's salary for next season is $20,513,178. The salaries of DeAndre Jordan, Caron Butler and Eric Bledsoe combine for total of: 10,986,550 + 8,000,000 + 2,626,473 = $21,613,023. In other words they are basically the same.

Isn't it pretty obvious what needs to be done to sign Dwight? That's right, in order to sign Dwight outright the Clippers have to salary dump DJ, Caron and Bled.

The Clippers have to find a team that is willing to absorb DJ's salary for a draft pick. And then find another team that is willing to absorb Caron and Bled's combined salary for another draft pick, maybe two. An easy proposition given that DJ and Bled are both young, talented, have plenty of upside and are very sought-after within GM circles. Then there's the value of Caron's expiring contract that can be traded closer to the trade deadline. We might even end up getting a really good pick for the Caron + Bled package.

Anyway, the draft pick isn't the point. The point is to shed salary to sign Dwight outright, so where does this put the Clippers salary situation? Well first of all, you definitely relinquish Billups' 7,600,000 and Odom's 12,300,000 cap holds. if you then include the cap holds of Chris Paul, Matt Barnes, Turiaf, Hollins and the 26th pick, and then waive Summers and Wayns, the 2013-14 team salary stands at:

48,421,875 + 18,668,431 + 884,293 + 884,293 + 884,293 + 925,700 - 947,907 - 788,872 = $68,932,106

At this stage the Clippers wouldn't be allowed to sign Dwight because it would take them way over the cap, but that doesn't apply if they can subtract the salaries of DJ, Carton and Bled first. After the Clippers have shed $20 million worth of salary they can then sign Dwight outright as a free agent. This would put the team salary at:

68,932,106 - 21,613,023 (DJ, Caron, Bled) + 20,513,178 (Dwight) = $67,832,261

That even gives the Clippers room to sign some extra vet mins (like Billups and Odom) before giving Matt Barnes his payday via the non-taxpayer mid-level exception, which is apparently at $5,150,000.

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