Lakers Trade Rumors: LA Must Give Up Desire to Land Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard trade rumors are bubbling to the surface once again, and not surprisingly, the Los Angeles Lakers are interested in the superstar center.

Is it March again?

Still, the likelihood of the Lakers agreeing to a deal with the Orlando Magic to land Howard this offseason is even more slim than it was at the trade deadline. But as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reports, that hasn't stopped the Lakers from inquiring:

Orlando officials are willing to discuss trades for Howard, and the Lakers have been one of the teams in touch with them over the weekend, sources said. The Brooklyn Nets and Houston Rockets have also talked to Magic officials, sources said.

While the Lakers have yet to make a direct offer, there's no scenario where Orlando would move Howard to the Lakers without getting back Andrew Bynum, L.A.'s 24-year-old All-Star center. Pau Gasol wouldn't fit the Magic's desires to rebuild with young players and draft picks.

The Lakers had been willing to part with Bynum for Howard in March, but those talks ended when Howard decided to decline his early termination option and remain under contract through the 2012-13 season.

The problem is that Howard made it clear he wasn't interested in playing for the Lakers at the trade deadline. And now, it has surfaced that he wants to be traded to the Brooklyn Nets. So why would the Lakers even bother to join these proceedings?

And would they give up Bynum for a player like Howard, who has handled himself so poorly this year and probably wouldn't re-sign with the team?

Because I wouldn't.

If Howard said he would sign with the Lakers, then I'd go ahead and work out a package involving Bynum as the centerpiece. Bynum hasn't exactly been Mr. Maturity this season anyhow, and Howard is simply the better player.

But my guess is that this rumor is nothing beyond the Lakers doing a bit of due...

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