Harry How/Getty Images
The fallen-star market is still bright in a center-deprived league.
While Dwight Howard may be the most disrespected superstar of 2013, he'll still be the highest-priced free agent of the offseason.
In the last few years, there's been only a brief window of Howard not potentially being on the move.
The Los Angeles Lakers have now lost their rights to trade Howard, though they have a good shot, if they choose, to re-sign the elite big man.
No doubt, there are a number of teams that would love the guy that Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak calls the best center in the league.
Dave McMenamin's excellent breakdown of the situation clearly illustrates Kupchak's seemingly tight grip on the rare big-man talent of Howard. The ESPNLosAngeles.com article that ran just prior to Thursday's deadline reviews Howard's desire to not speak about his future each moment of this current season.
McMenamin quotes Howard: "There's no need for me to make a decision right now. My goal hasn't changed. I want to win a championship and I want to win one here. I'm here right now and this is our chance to get one this season. It's been tough, but we have an opportunity to change all that."
In a radio interview with ESPN's Colin Cowherd, Kupchak spoke on his team's two-year window to win with Kobe Bryant under contract, naming Howard as the franchise's future.
But Howard has all the leverage.
The Atlanta Hawks will likely flirt into offseason rumors to land Howard in free agency. It's Howard's hometown, and Atlanta has the cap space. However, they'd need to prove capable of contending.
The Houston Rockets, Brooklyn Nets and Dallas Mavericks will likely swirl in the Howard gossip—all teams seeking the talents of a superstar center.
If you're sick of the constant reports on the status of Howard, you'll need to avoid the sports world this summer.