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Dwight Howard says Lakers told him he will not be traded

Feb 15, 2013, 7:24 PM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers Howard answers a question during media availability for the NBA All-Star basketball game in Houston

HOUSTON — Dwight Howard was among the more popular players in terms of media attention on Friday, and it wasn’t because of his sparkling smile or fun-loving personality.

All of the players participating in the events of All-Star weekend had group availability sessions, and between the constant struggles of the Lakers this season and Howard’s impending free agency, he was a prime choice to be targeted in order to get his thoughts on both of those topics.

While Dwight chose to continue to avoid getting into the specifics of whether or not he’ll re-sign with the Lakers, he did make it clear that he’s not worried about being dealt by the team before the Feb. 21 trade deadline.

“They told me they weren’t going to trade me,” Howard said. “I’d be surprised. They told me they wouldn’t trade me. That’s what [Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak] said.”

Now that Howard has assurances from the team that they’re committed to building a winner around him, it would only have been polite to reciprocate by saying he’d stay in Los Angeles beyond this season. He’s not ready to do that, however, and tried to explain his reasoning for keeping his options open.

“The only thing that matters is the present,” Howard said. “And right now there’s no need for me to talk about what happens at the end of the season. There’s no need to go back and forth about it, I just feel like at the end of the year, I should have my opportunity to make my decision.

“I shouldn’t be pressured criticized for waiting until the end of the year,” Howard continued. “I don’t think its fair for my teammates. I don’t think it’s fair for the fans or anybody to be worried about what’s going to happen at the end of the year. Our job is to come out and play hard every night, and we have to live in the moment. Nobody can control what happens at the end of the year.”

When asked if it’s fair to be criticized for keeping quiet about whether a return to the Lakers is likely, Howard simply said he didn’t want to go through the drama that followed him to the very end of his final season in Orlando.

“I had to deal with it all last year, so I’m not going to do it again,” he said.

Howard admitted the first half of the season hasn’t exactly gone according to plan for the Lakers, but said the team is doing a good job of tuning out the distractions as they continue to try to make things work from a basketball standpoint.

“I didn’t expect for it to go as sour as it’s going,” Howard said of his time thus far in Los Angeles. “There’s always room for improvement. We’ve had to battle a lot of things this year — guys getting injured, us not winning, and just all the drama that’s outside of the locker room.

“We’ve had to deal with a lot. But I think for the most part, as a team, we’ve done a good job of staying strong and staying together. It’ll get better.”

And if it doesn’t, Howard has the option to move on. When asked what would ultimately make him choose between the Lakers and another team this offseason, he summed it up rather succinctly.

“I’m going to do what makes me happy,” Howard said. “That’s it.”

  1. eugenesaxe - Feb 15, 2013 at 7:43 PM

    There’s only one team that would offer a reasonable package for him, the team he has publicly stated he wants to play for.

  2. daddyghi - Feb 15, 2013 at 7:49 PM

    “Lakers told him he will not be traded”

    The question is… does he want to be a laker after this season?

  3. dls612 - Feb 15, 2013 at 7:59 PM

    For some reason I believe the Lakers will be getting the short end of the stick! Because if he gave them the impression he’s staying! Well one word ( Orlando)

  4. bucs24 - Feb 15, 2013 at 8:04 PM

    He’s already gone

  5. houstonoilers - Feb 15, 2013 at 8:16 PM

    I hope he is lying or he misunderstood what he was told. Take your broken down body elsewhere.

  6. jimeejohnson - Feb 15, 2013 at 8:17 PM

    He’d probably rather play in some ice age city like Boston or New Yawk. Yeah, right.

  7. raidmagic - Feb 15, 2013 at 8:17 PM

    If he’s so injured why is he playing in the All Star game? Shouldn’t he have gave his spot to someone else and rested?

    • fanofevilempire - Feb 15, 2013 at 8:28 PM

      If he doesn’t play in the game because of a injury he has to sit out the first Laker game after the break, same reason Melo has to play in the game.

      • raidmagic - Feb 16, 2013 at 12:27 PM

        Big deal, great time to miss one game. That way he gets a week of rest with only one game missed. Makes more sense than sitting out multiple games for a weeks rest.

    • gasan2013pananaw - Feb 16, 2013 at 1:58 AM


  8. jerdogthompson - Feb 15, 2013 at 8:18 PM

    I suppose you believe in Santa clause, tooth fairy & the Easter bunny too Dwight. Kupcake will trade you in a red hot second if there was a team DUMB enough to do so. Fact of the matter is no team in the NBA wants any part of the stinking mess called D12. I’d say your best bet is too milk the Lakers for a max (all guaranteed) contract before deciding that your man-Gina is too hurt to ever play ball again.

    What a freaking joke,

    What a freaking joke.

  9. echech88 - Feb 15, 2013 at 8:21 PM

    Laker fans are not that crazy about Howard. Even if he was successful at his next stop I’m not sure they’d be devastated by him leaving.

  10. sabatimus - Feb 15, 2013 at 8:26 PM

    Best news I’ve heard in a while.

  11. dko83 - Feb 16, 2013 at 2:31 AM

    I can’t wait to see if he stays in LA. I literally can’t wait. If the Lakers don’t trade him, which I honestly believe they won’t, and he leaves… my laughter will be as uncontrollable as Beasley’s on his All-Star break.

  12. BigBeachBall - Feb 16, 2013 at 5:22 AM

    this looks like a serious possibility….

  13. danrrtx - Feb 16, 2013 at 7:32 AM

    The Lakers could be getting the last laugh if Howard is unhappy and does walk. It could be a “win” for the franchise either way. They could go from being completely handcuffed by salary restrictions in the new CBA to having incredible freedom after next year. They have extremely little money committed after 2013-14. That might not be so great for the end of Kobe’s career, but then Kobe hasn’t exactly been welcoming to new mates such as Howard anyway. Right or wrong, things will always be done Kobe’s way as long as he’s around. If there’s even a perceived challenge to that, you’ll get squished by Kobe, fans, coaches, or all of the above.

    I have a feeling Howard’s biggest issue with the Lakers will be the coach. Right now they’re a rudderless ship only being guided by the whims of how Kobe wants to play the game on any particular night. They have no identity as a team whatsoever.

  14. omniusprime - Feb 16, 2013 at 9:01 AM

    Just because Kupcake told Howard he wouldn’t be traded that doesn’t mean the little idiot buss boy wouldn’t trade him for some small ball garbage player to make Dumbtoni happy. Never underestimate the stupidity of the little idiot buss boy or any sports pundit. Only the most ignorant of sports pundits would throw out a garbage story like Howard getting traded for Rondo.

    After going through so much to get Howard the Lakers would be idiots to lose Howard. I wish Trash Nash and Steve Flake would be traded away for a great young point guard like Kyrie Irving. Rondo is getting a little old but he’d be so much better than our two worthless point guards.

    Fire Dumbtoni!!! Trade Trash Nash!!! Trade Steve Flake!!! We Want Pau!!!

    • raidmagic - Feb 16, 2013 at 12:30 PM

      You are seriously laughable. Forget the crazy trade ideas like Nash and Blake for Irving or the thought that anyone on that roster other than Howard would get you good assets it’s your amazing word play that I can’t get enough of . I can see you now just sitting there with a yellow pad writing all your changed names thinking you are crafty.

  15. themanchine - Feb 16, 2013 at 9:39 AM

    D12 for Bargnani & Fields.

  16. maddogg911 - Feb 16, 2013 at 11:33 AM

    D12 for Jordan @ 50 yrs old

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