The Los Angeles Lakers can afford to be patient. Even though the Dwight Howard saga is ongoing, Los Angeles can wait this one out for a while. Howard has reiterated his desire to be traded, but it seems like every time Dwight opens his mouth, he paints the Magic deeper into the corner. The Lakers may covet Howard, but they are in the best negotiating position at the moment.
Position of strength
The Lakers have a dominant center in Andrew Bynum. Therefore, they are not desperate to get a big man. Howard would arguably be an upgrade, but Bynum is still a talented player that could very easily be a cornerstone for the Lakers going forward. In other words, Los Angeles does not need to overpay. They can afford to wait for the right deal to come to them.
Technically, the Magic have until the trade deadline next year to move Howard. That means we could be facing six more months of rumors. Still, certain circumstances may change the likelihood of Los Angeles being involved in trade talks. If the Lakers move forward with an extension for Andrew Bynum, there may be some no-trade language put into the contract. In addition, a productive Bynum may make Howard seem less appealing. Granted, an injury to Bynum could also derail any trade possibilities, as the Lakers will not be able to move damaged goods. Laker Nation has to remember that Bynum was uncharacteristically healthy last year. That may not continue.
Predicting the future
At the moment, Mitch Kupchak is saying all the right things. He is neither confirming not denying any trade possibilities. At this point, why should he? Anything could happen. Howard could change his mind and re-sign with the Magic. Or, Orlando could present a fantastic offer tomorrow and the deal could get done. The Lakers already surprised us by acquiring Steve Nash. I am not going to make a bold prediction and get burned again.
For now, I guess we wait, either for a trade or for more demands from Dwight Howard.
The author grew up in Seattle and now lives in Los Angeles, where he enjoys the rivalry between the Lakers and the Clippers, and all the drama that goes with being in the Southland. You can follow him on Twitter @tpheifer.
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