The latest NBA trade rumors suggest that the Los Angeles Lakers could consider trading Dwight Howard. This would be an absolutely horrible trade for the Lakers and would completely finish them for the season.
According to ESPN, Howard has grown frustrated with coach Mike D'Antoni:
But sources say that Howard, as the Lakers' struggles have mounted, has dropped hints within team circles about his discomfort in D'Antoni's system and that he could consider moving on if things don't improve or change.
The Lakers have been a mess all year. Despite the incredible collection of talent on the team, they are only 17-24 and currently out of the Western Conference playoff picture.
Yet, despite the mess, Howard is having another typically great season.
Howard leads the league in rebounding, averaging 12.3 per game, he's shooting a fantastic 58 percent from the field and averaging 17.1 points per game.
He's not the defensive force he once was, but the Lakers are a complete disaster without him on the court.
According to Grantland's Zach Lowe, the Lakers play league-worst defense when Howard is on the bench. When he's on the floor, they play league-average defense.
If you think things are bad now, it would be even worse with Howard.
Howard is a free agent at the end of the year. With Kobe Bryant getting up there in age, signing Howard to a long-term deal would ensure that the team has a building block going forward.
In addition, the Lakers may not be able to get great value for Howard. It was nearly impossible to swing a deal for him in the offseason, and it wouldn't get any easier during the season.
Yes, things are bad in L.A., but Howard is a necessary part of the franchise's future. They gave up a lot to get him—giving up now would be foolish.
If the Lakers were to trade him now, any shot at the playoffs would go out the window. The Lakers are only four games out of a playoff spot with half the season remaining. A playoff run is not out of the question.
There is plenty of time to clean up the mess, but if they trade Howard, it won't happen.
The Lakers are talented enough that if they make the playoffs they could make a run. But no Howard, no playoffs.
It would be simply foolish to trade Howard at this juncture. They won't get a lot for him and need him as a building block going forward.
Any move would just finish the Lakers.