Lakers Trade Rumors: Keeping Dwight Howard Shows Front Office Paradox in LA

Patrick Clarke@@_Pat_ClarkeCorrespondent IFebruary 15, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 29:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrates in the final seconds of the game with the New Orleans Hornets at Staples Center on January 29, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. . The Lakers won 111-106.  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 Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The up-and-down Los Angeles Lakers look content to finish out the 2012-13 season with a banged-up Dwight Howard at center, absurdly willing to risk possibly losing him for nothing this summer rather than acquiring some talent in return.

According to ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard last week, L.A.'s higher-ups have already made it known that Howard will remain a Laker past this month's trade deadline:

Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak has told Dwight Howard he will not be traded before the Feb. 21 trade deadline, according to league sources.

The patience displayed by the Lakers' front office this winter is shockingly inconsistent with the approach it took just a few months ago, five games into the season, when it decided Mike Brown wasn't getting it done.

After a 1-4 start this past fall, Brown was canned. Fast-forward three months later, and the Lakers are still a losing team, but now one in danger of missing the playoffs altogether.

This seems like the perfect time to revisit this quote from Kupchak after the Brown firing (via ESPNLosAngeles.com's Ramona Shelburne):

The bottom line is that the team is not winning at the pace that we expected this team to win and we didn't see improvement. We wish Mike well and we're sorry it ended this way. So, we've decided to move in another direction and make a change.

Nonsensically, the Lakers are now willing to let the situation play out and accept a below-.500 product. If the Lakers are improving under Mike D'Antoni, I might add they are doing so at a snail-like pace.

It must be pointed out that "sources have told ESPNLosAngeles.com's Ramona Shelburne that the Lakers are 'very confident' Howard will remain with the team this summer," according to Broussard.

With that being said, let's not forget who this is. We're talking about Dwight Howard—the same player that flipped and flopped last season in Orlando, seemingly changing his mind every other day about whether he wanted to stay or go.

If the losses continue to pile up, and Kobe Bryant keeps firing criticism Howard's way, who knows where he'll sign at season's end?

The bottom line is that Dwight Howard isn't making the Lake Show any better this season. L.A. is one of only eight NBA teams surrendering more than 100 points per game this season and ranks 17th in the NBA in opponent field-goal percentage (45.1).

Standing pat at Thursday's trade deadline shows that the Lakers' front office is all of a sudden satisfied with what's transpiring on the court night after night, displaying an indifference that was nonexistent three months ago when the Lakers were stumbling out of the gate under Mike Brown.

 

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