What’s Next For LA Lakers After Losing Out in Dwight Howard Sweepstakes?

Now that Dwight Howard has officially departed the Los Angeles Lakers in favor of the Houston Rockets, the purple and gold must move forward without him.

After much anticipation and inconclusive reports, Howard confirmed his choice Thursday night via Twitter:

I've decided to become a member of the Houston Rockets. I feel its the best place for me and I am excited about joining the Rockets and I'm looking forward to a great season. I want to thank the fans in Los Angeles and wish them the best.

He didn't feel comfortable enough returning to the Lakers, so Mitch Kupchak and Co. are left with almost nothing to work with in the short term.

For now, the Lakers' first goal is to say "good riddance," forget about him and work as a unit to put the best possible product on the floor in 2013-14.

It looks like Kobe Bryant has already moved on, as he posted a picture on Instagram of he and Pau Gasol, as if to say "peace out" to Dwight.

Kobe also unfollowed Howard on Twitter almost immediately after Dwight's departure became official:

With the less-than-warm farewells out of the way, what is the short-term and long-term outlook for the Lakers?

Immediate Fallout in 2013-14

There's almost nothing the Lakers can do this offseason to significantly upgrade their roster, as they only have about $1.59 million to play with until they reach luxury tax territory.

They could pick up an affordable post player such as Kenyon Martin or another free agent guard, but other than that, their adjustments will be made in-house.

A likely scenario would see Jordan Hill pairing up with Pau Gasol in the post to fill the void left by Howard. It's not the most exciting scenario for Lakers fans, but Hill has shown promise in his first few years in the league.

In the backcourt, Kobe and Steve Nash are going to have to ca...

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