When the Los Angeles Lakers traded for Dwight Howard before the start of this season, it was for the long-term.
The Lakers planned to re-sign Howard next summer and keep him to pair with Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Pau Gasol for a few more title runs.
Things haven’t gone as planned and the Lakers currently sit at 17-24 on the year with the playoffs looking very unrealistic.
The Los Angeles Lakers have consistently turned away trade inquiries in recent weeks for All-Star center Dwight Howard and still believe they have a strong chance of signing him to a new contract when Howard becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer, according to sources close to the situation.
But sources told ESPN.com this week the Lakers might be forced to reconsider that position between now and the Feb. 21 trade deadline because of Howard’s growing unhappiness with his role under coach Mike D’Antoni and the potential that raises for Howard leaving them in July without compensation.
Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak, however, said that a trade is not imminent.
This is interesting considering the news that came out yesterday that the Brooklyn Nets were planning to pursue trading for Howard again this season.
Between Howard and Gasol, the Lakers need to trade one of them. It is unknown what the Lakers could get for Howard at this point. Gasol has most often been linked with Josh Smith as a potential swap between the Lakers and Atlanta Hawks, something that would probably fit pretty well with the Lakers.
If the Lakers don’t trade Howard and he becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer, there is a real chance he will decide to sign somewhere else considering his struggles in L.A. and the team’s struggles.
The Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks and Atlanta Hawks are a few teams who are planning to be in position to sign Howard next summer.