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Lakers weighing options with Howard

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The Los Angeles Lakers want to retain center Dwight Howard, even though he intends to become a free agent on July 1.

However, the team also has not ruled out signing and trading Howard if he insists on leaving.

ESPN Los Angeles reported Monday that the Lakers have had talks with Howard's representatives and are weighing their options with Howard.

It was reported Saturday that the Los Angeles Clippers have interest in possibly trading power forward Blake Griffin and backup point guard Eric Bledsoe for Howard in a sign-and-trade deal.

The Lakers reportedly expect a sign-and-trade offer from the Houston Rockets as well. The Rockets will have salary-cap space to sign Howard without making a trade, but could offer center Omer Asik and point guard Jeremy Lin if a sign-and-trade deal is necessary.

The Lakers may also let Howard go and use the cap space to pursue free agents in 2014.

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