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NBA Roundup: Howard, Rondo not trade bait

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With the NBA trade deadline (Thursday, 3 pm ET) approaching, two of the biggest names in the league will likely not be going anywhere anytime soon.

Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said Wednesday that he has no plans to deal embattled center Dwight Howard, even going so far as to say that with Kobe Bryant closing in on the end of his career that Howard is the future of the franchise.

"We're not trading Dwight Howard," Kupchak said in an interview with ESPN Radio. "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."

Kupchak also said it wouldn't make sense to trade a player he calls the best center in the league. Howard joined the Lakers before the season amid much hype but has battled through back and shoulder injuries and struggled at times. He's averaging 16.3 points per game, his lowest output since his second season in the NBA.

Although Howard is off the trade market, Kupchak said he might be open to trading another Lakers big man, forward/center Pau Gasol.

The other big name prominently mentioned in trade talks, Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo, is also likely going to stay right where he is. Rondo's agent, Billy Duffy, told USA Today that Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge assured him Rondo won't be dealt to another team.

Meanwhile, ESPN.com reported that Rondo is available but that a trade is improbable because of his knee injury. Rondo underwent season-ending surgery last week to repair a torn ACL.

---In other NBA news, the Boston Celtics announced they have signed free-agent Terrence Williams to a 10-day contract. Williams, a first-round pick by the Nets in the 2009 NBA Draft, last played with Guangdong in the Chinese Basketball Association. He averaged 17.9 points, 3.4 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.2 steals in 29 games. Williams' NBA career averages are 7.6 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 129 games with the Nets, Houston and Sacramento.
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