Dwight Howard could possibly be traded to the Boston Celtics, but then again he might not.
Los Angeles Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak denied rumors he engaged in trade talks to send Howard to the Celtics in exchange for Rajon Rondo.
UPDATE: Saturday, Feb. 16, at 12:33 a.m. ET by Michael Moraitis
According to the ESPN.com staff, general manager Mitch Kupchak denied the Howard-Rondo trade rumor and remains steadfast on not trading his star center:
"I haven't talked to Danny Ainge in weeks," Kupchak told ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard. "I made the statement a week or two ago that we're not going to trade Dwight Howard and that hasn't changed."
When asked if a possible Howard-for-Rondo trade was discussed when he spoke to the Celtics weeks ago, Kupchak again said no. He said at no point this season has a Howard-for-Rondo trade been discussed.
---End of Update---
Reports have surfaced that the Los Angeles Lakers are in trade discussions with the Boston Celtics. According to CBS Sports’ Ken Berger, the Celtics would ship Rajon Rondo to Southern California and get Howard from their cross-country rival:
CBSSports.com has learned that the Lakers have engaged in preliminary trade discussions with an unlikely trade partner regarding Howard: their fierce rival, the Boston Celtics. The centerpieces of the possible deal, which hasn't gained any traction, would be Howard and Rajon Rondo.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Berger said the deal hasn’t gained traction and that they were only in the initial phase of negotiations. The fact that the talks are even happening, though, is what's most surprising.
Plus, just hours before Berger’s report, during the NBA Celebrity All-Star Game coverage, Howard said that GM Mitch Kupchak assured him he would not be dealt before the NBA’s Feb. 21 trade deadline (h/t Berger via Twitter):
Dwight Howard says Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak has told him definitively he will not be traded before Feb. 21 deadline.— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) February 15, 2013
That’s a recurring message from Kupchak and the Lakers staff.
Earlier in the month, amidst trade rumors and speculation, Kupchak reaffirmed that Howard wouldn’t be traded away this season.
"We will not trade Dwight Howard,” the GM said.
Is Kupchak saying one thing and doing the exact opposite? That wouldn’t be unheard of in the secret world of NBA-executive meetings and dealings.
Will we see a Howard-to-Boston deal before the deadline? Well, Howard has continued to struggle with injuries and hasn’t been able to build chemistry with new teammates Steve Nash, Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant.
Who wins if this trade goes down?
You might even call the superteam that was constructed at the Staples Center a midseason failure, although there is still time to revive it.
The clock is ticking, though, and we’ll just have to wait and see whether or not Kupchak is being upfront with us or if he’s secretly trying to send one of his team’s biggest stars to his team's most-hated rival.
If the Lakers score Rondo, they will receive arguably the top point guard in the NBA. Rondo's ability to create for teammates will have an instant impact on the struggling Lakers offense. He's also a key for the future success of the team.
Nash and Bryant are on the verge of retirement, which would make Rondo the star and face of the team for the future. The future is what the team would be looking ahead to with this move, all but giving up on the 2012-13 season.
In Boston, the Celtics would get one of the best double-double machines in the NBA—when healthy. Putting a big man like Howard on the court would instantly make the Celtics title contenders again in 2013. It would be a massive coup for the city that thought its championship window was rapidly closing after Rondo's ACL tear put him down for the season.