It's a possible move that came out of almost nowhere. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported the two teams have had brief negotiations about trading the two stars. Berger writes:
However, 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.
Howard has had a rather tumultuous time since moving to Los Angeles in the offseason. His contract is up at the end of the year, and there's a very real chance the big man might be playing for his third team in as many years come the 2013-14 season.
On one hand, it would make sense to trade him now and get something in return if Lakers management was confident the team couldn't re-sign Howard. That would fly in the face of everything that general manager Mitch Kupchak has said, though.
According to Chris Broussard of ESPN.com, Kupchak has affirmed his stance that Howard isn't going anywhere:
"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.
Source who would definitely know re: reported Rondo/Howard talks: "nothing. Zero. Nada. Niente. Clear?" So, there's that.— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) February 16, 2013
It's the kind of deal that is exciting if only for the fact that it features two of the better players in the league at their respective positions.
What would it do for the Lakers, though?
Trading Howard would mean that Los Angeles jettisoning its best big man. Injuries have already gutted what the team had in terms of big men.
Taking Howard out of the mix would leave Robert Sacre and Earl Clark as the best remaining options in the paint. There's also Pau Gasol, but his struggles have been well publicized, and there's also the plantar fascia injury in his right foot.
The Celtics' biggest problem is the fact they don't have a strong center to anchor the team in the paint. Kevin Garnett has done well this year, but he doesn't have the post presence Boston needs right now. Adding Howard is the missing piece to puzzle for that team, as Boston has already shown it can win without Rondo.
Considering the fact that inside is where the Celtics are their weakest, who would they send back in return for Howard aside from Rondo? Whoever the players are Boston would send wouldn't help Los Angeles in the paint.
Oh, and there's also the little fact that Rondo is out for the season.
Trading for Rondo might work in the long term, but that would mean completely giving up on this season, and that's not likely to happen.