NBA Trade Rumors: Lakers Favorites to Land Dwight Howard After Lopez Injury?

What a wild turn of events the NBA world is. One minute, you're down and out without a future, and the next, you're riding high with improved expectations.

This explains the Los Angeles Lakers situation after word came in that New Jersey Nets center Brook Lopez will be going under surgery to repair a stress fracture in his foot. The injury is set to keep him out as much as six weeks, and he won't return until most likely sometime in February.

How does this affect the Lakers? Well, Lopez was meant to be the main piece of a trade between the New Jersey Nets and Orlando Magic that would have sent Dwight Howard to play alongside Deron Williams. With Lopez now out, the Magic will be skeptical as to trading away their franchise player for a center that just went under foot surgery only a few weeks prior.

Foot injuries for centers are no joke, even one like Brook Lopez, who has been consistently healthy in the first three seasons of his NBA career. Any injury below the belt for a player that stands at 7'0" could be devastating, and the Magic aren't the type of team to take a risk on that while also giving up the league's most dominant center in the process.

Orlando will still be looking to move Dwight Howard. Even though GM Otis Smith likes to hear himself say that Howard will be staying with the Magic, he does recognize that trading him would be the right thing to do when considering the situation. Howard becomes a free agent next season, and with the talk that he's adamant about leaving, getting something for him via trade might be the best bet.

The Nets may have just bowed out of the Dwight Howard sweepstakes for good. The Magic are asking a lot in order to trade Howard since they think they can convince him to stay, so only the best pieces would make them think about moving their All-Star center.

Orlando recognizes that they have one of the league's most dominant pieces on their team, and they're willing...

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