Will the Los Angeles Lakers Emerge as Frontrunners for Dwight Howard?

Nikhil DilipCorrespondent IIIJuly 11, 2012

ORLANDO, FL - FEBRUARY 13:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic attempts a shot over Pau Gasol #16 and Andrew Bynum #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the game at Amway Arena on February 13, 2011 in Orlando, Florida.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

ESPN's Ric Bucher has reported that the Brooklyn Nets and Orlando Magic have ceased talks regarding a trade that would send Dwight Howard to Brooklyn.

This means that the Los Angeles Lakers have emerged as frontrunners in a potential deal that would send the all-star center to Tinseltown.

Though Howard is insistent that he would only sign an extension with the Nets, Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak is confident that if the team can acquire him, they can convince him to sign an extension.

Andrew Bynum would be the key component of any deal to land Howard in Los Angeles, as Bynum is arguably the second-best center in the league behind Howard despite only being 25-years-old.

However, Bynum will be a free agent in 2013, and Sports Illustrated has reported that Bynum may not sign an extension with the Magic if traded to Orlando.

According to Bucher, the Houston Rockets are still in play to acquire a big man. They are still pursuing Howard but would even facilitate a deal that would help bring Howard to Los Angeles if Andrew Bynum would land in Houston.

The only issue with Bynum in Orlando would be a possible repeat of the scenario that the team is in with Howard. If Bynum does not commit to an extension in Orlando, the Magic may be dealing again.