Dwight Howard's first season with the Los Angeles Lakers isn't going as well as he or the team would have hoped. The Lakers entered the All-Star Break trailing the Houston Rockets by 3.5 games for the West's final playoff seed, and they'll have to leapfrog the Portland Trail Blazers in the standings to get there. And Howard, coming off back surgery, hasn't been as dominant defensively as he had been during his days with the Orlando Magic.
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The Lakers' disappointing season, coupled with Howard's questionable fit with the club, led to speculation that L.A. might deal the All-Star center before the NBA trading deadline, which is set for Thursday at 12 p.m. Pacific.
But a trade of Howard isn't in the offing. A Yahoo! report filed Sunday indicates that the Lakers will not trade him:
When teams call to talk trade, they [rival teams] say, the Lakers' private message has been consistent with the public one: Howard isn't available, general manager Mitch Kupchak tells them.
The Yahoo! story also mentions that Kupchak has told Howard directly that he intends to keep him beyond the deadline. Speculation from one source, a "rival GM," cited in the piece is that the Lakers are "too arrogant to move him now, even if Dwight asked for it."
Howard is averaging 16.3 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks in his first season as a Laker. The 11.8 rebounds are enough to lead the league. If he maintains his hold on the league lead, it will be the fifth rebounding title in the last six seasons for the former no. 1 overall draft pick.