Lakers Trade Rumors: LA Shows Overconfidence in Refusing to Deal Dwight Howard

The uncertainty of free agency is a scary thing. It's one reason why the Los Angeles Lakers were able to  trade for Dwight Howard during the 2012 offseason, and it's a reason why there's been uncertainty surrounding his current status.

However, after Wednesday's quotes from general manager Mitch Kupchak and LA's big win over Boston, the window to both listen to trades and even be open to that kind of move appears to be closed.

That would be a mistake.

HoopsWorld writer Alex Kennedy first noted that even though the Lakers are maintaining that they aren't going to trade Howard before Thursday's trade deadline, there's a general sense around the league that those assertions are premature.

Those assertions lie in direct contradiction of what Kupchak told reporters on Wednesday, as noted by ESPN's Dave McMenamin in his latest piece:

"We've been very consistent," Kupchak said. "We're not trading Dwight Howard. ... He will not be traded, and there's nothing that anybody can do today to call me today and ask me, 'Would you do this?' and get a positive result."

For starters, that attitude could end up really hurting the Lakers come summer 2013.

Despite Howard having a great season statistically (16.3 points, 11.8 rebounds, 2.3 blocks per game), he hasn't had the kind of impact on the defensive side of the team or in the locker room that the Lakers perceived he would when parting with Andrew Bynum for his services.

Throw in the fact that Howard is set to hit free agency this summer, and teams like Atlanta and Houston are putting themselves in position to have cap space for a potential blockbuster sign-and-trade, and things start looking even dicier with respect to Kupchak's decision.

Another great example of Howard's lack of maturity and disappointing year in LA could be at the All-Star game.

According to Stephen A. Smith on a broadcast...

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