Lakers Might Be Forced To Trade Dwight Howard
One day after coach Mike D’Antoni moved Pau Gasol to the bench, setting off the umpteenth round of trade speculation concerning the Spaniard, an ESPN.com report indicated that Dwight Howard’s impatience with the Lakers’ system during this disappointing season could wind up forcing management to investigate its options in advance of February’s trade deadline. Howard, acquired from the Magic in a four-team blockbuster trade last summer, is set to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
The Los Angeles Lakers have consistently turned away trade inquiries in recent weeks for All-Star center Dwight Howard and still believe they have a strong chance of signing him to a new contract when Howard becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer, according to sources close to the situation.
But sources told ESPN.com this week that the Lakers might be forced to reconsider that position between now and the Feb. 21 trade deadline because of Howard’s growing unhappiness with his role under coach Mike D’Antoni and the potential that raises for Howard leaving them in July without compensation.
Howard has not publicly indicated any desire to sign elsewhere when he becomes an unrestricted free agent July 1 and came to Los Angeles determined to succeed with a minimum amount of fuss after the hits he took image-wise during his drawn-out departure from the Orlando Magic. But sources say that Howard, as the Lakers’ struggles have mounted, has dropped hints within team circles about his discomfort in D’Antoni’s system and that he could consider moving on if things don’t improve or change.