Despite major speculation, the Los Angeles Lakers kept their promise and kept both Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol, sticking with a team that seems likely to miss the playoffs unless something changes fast.
Mitch Kupchak stayed true to his word and opted not to trade Dwight Howard or Pau Gasol at the deadline, meaning the team is all in for trying to succeed this year with their current lineup.
Kupchak had insisted from the beginning that despite his squad's sub-par record -- after a win Wednesday night, they're 26-29, needing to make up 3½ games on the Houston Rockets to make the playoffs -- the two big men would stay. Wednesday, he referred to Howard as the franchise's future while acknowledging that the huge offseason acquisition still needed to mesh with Kobe Bryant, and although Pau Gasol has had publicized disagreements with coach Mike D'Antoni, he said he wouldn't request a trade. There was still speculation either could get dealt up until the last moment, but now that the deadline has passed, its clear that Howard will remain a Laker for at least the rest of the season. Now, the speculation about whether or not he'll leave when he becomes a free agent in a few months can begin.
The Lakers looked into a few other deals -- Mike D'Antoni reportedly coveted former player Raja Bell, who has not played for the Jazz yet this season -- and the team was apparently shopping some minor pieces for luxury tax relief, but nothing came of either deal.
So the Lakers have apparently decided to stick with the team they came into the year with -- the same one that slogged out to a mediocre start -- rather than shake things up. It's probably the smart move: Howard might have looked a step slow all year, but he's shown for his entire year he's better than he's playing, and although Gasol is playing career-worst ball, he's been a part of two championship teams. But if you go by the mantra that the definition of insanity is repeating the same thing and expecting different results, then the Lakers are insane.
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