The Los Angeles Lakers remain at a crossroads, and it seems like every day, the Dwight Howard trade rumor takes a different twist. The Brooklyn Nets, which was the team that Howard originally wanted to be dealt to in the off season, and have been one of the front runners to land the three-time Defensive Player of the Year, are now no longer interested in pursuing a deal that would bring Howard to Brooklyn, in exchange for center Brook Lopez.
According to multiple team sources, the Nets have not engaged in trade talks for Howard and remain skeptical the Lakers will deal their center by next month’s deadline.
The Nets have also addressed the issue privately to Lopez, who signed a 4 year, $61 million deal in the offseason. On Tuesday, a report came out stating the Nets would be pursuing a three team deal that would bring in Howard, and send Lopez away to the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Nets have dismissed that rumor. Since the Nets do not have cap space to sign a max contract free agent this coming offseason, their only shot of bringing in Howard would be to trade for him, a deal that would have to involve Lopez.
Still, this does not mean that the Lakers won’t trade Howard before the trade deadline. The team is in disarray, from the feud between Kobe Bryant and Howard, to Howard becoming discontent with coach Mike D’Antoni’s system, to the team being currently in 12th place in the West, at 17-24. The Orange County Register reported Tuesday that Howard has joked about Bryant’s shot selection behind his back, “making teammates uncomfortable.” A league source told the Daily News that Howard and Bryant had a heated exchange after a game on New Year’s Day, during which Bryant called his teammate “soft.”
Howard will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. There were numerous reports last offseason that speculated that he would be interest in becoming a Houston Rocket, so it’ll be interesting to see if the Rockets pursue Howard, either as a free agent, or a sign-and-trade with the Lakers. The Rockets will have enough cap space to give a max contract this offseason.