Lakers Rumors: LA Reportedly Losing Ground in Dwight Howard Sweepstakes

The Los Angeles Lakers reportedly seem resigned to the fact that superstar center Dwight Howard will not return to the team after only one season.

According to ESPN's Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne, sources are saying the Lakers organization is fearing the worst when it comes to Howard, as the franchise may be as low as fourth on the 27-year-old's preferred list of suitors.

The report also notes that the Lakers weren't even considering a sign-and-trade proposition involving Howard, but now that his departure is likely imminent, that thinking may change:

One source briefed on the Lakers' thinking told that, if the extra fifth year and nearly $30 million they can offer Howard isn't enough to hold off the competition, they would be forced to "look at everything".

When the Lakers met with Howard on Tuesday, the sentiment was more optimistic than before the sit-down that he would re-sign in the City of Angels. However, late on Thursday, the doubts returned.

What is mainly concerning those involved in trying to convince Howard to return is his unwillingness to co-exist with all-time great Kobe Bryant and play under head coach Mike D'Antoni.

It appears at this point that the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks are the top contenders to land Howard, but the Golden State Warriors' meeting on Monday, per Stein and Shelburne, impacted Howard and now is a possible dark horse destination.

Andrew Bogut, Richard Jefferson and Andres Biedrins all have expiring contracts and could clear enough cap space for Howard's exorbitant contract. Per the ESPN report, Bogut's salary for 2013-14 is $14 million, while Jefferson's is $11 million and Biedrins is slated to make $9 million.

Peter Vecsey reported that the Warriors feel they have trade partners willing to take on all three contracts, too:

In light of these circumstances, it appears that t...

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