Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak says he has no intention of trading star center Dwight Howard before the NBA deadline, and reiterated that point on Colin Cowherd's radio show Wednesday, according to the Sportscenter twitter feed. Rumors have swirled about Howard's unhappiness in Los Angeles and his inability to get along with Kobe Bryant, which brought on speculation that the Lakers could deal the center, who becomes a free agent in the summer.
Kupchak believes so strongly in Howard that he is already planning future honors for the big man, saying that he "deserves" a statue outside of Staples Center.
There are currently three former Lakers enshrined in statue form outside of Staples Center: Jerry West, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar andJohnson. West played all 14 seasons of his career in Los Angeles, is considered one of the greatest players in NBA history and is the model for the league's logo. Johnson may be the greatest point guard of all-time, and Abdul-Jabbar scored more points than anybody. All were part of championship teams.
Howard has logged 48 total games in Los Angeles. In that time, he is putting out his lowest offensive and defensive rebounding percentages since his rookie season and the lowest offensive rating of his career. If that is good enough for a statue, then the Lakers better get to work constructing plenty more.
A short list of former Lakers (in no particular order) who have priority over Howard as a statue:
Nick Van Exel
Howard has a long way to go to top the likes of Mark Madsen and Adam Morrison, who both won titles with the Lakers. Does Howard even have the dance moves to pull a celebration off? It appears that Kupchak is willing to keep him around in hopes of finding out.