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Report: Lakers, Celtics discussed Howard for Rondo swap. Lakers deny it.

Feb 16, 2013, 2:31 AM EDT

Dwight Howard AP

UPDATE February 16: 2:31 am: It didn’t take long for this rumor to be shot down by one of the principles involved, Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak.

The buzz started Friday night that the Lakers and Celtics had discussed a Dwight Howard for Rajon Rondo (there would need to be other players). And before you say “this is what you say before you make a trade” know that Kupchak is about as straight a shooter as there is. He spoke with Chris Broussard of ESPN.

 Kupchak said “I haven’t talked to Danny Ainge in weeks. I made the statement a week or 2 ago that we’re not going to trade Dwight Howard and that hasn’t changed.” Kupchak said at no pt this season has a D12-for-Rondo trade been discussed.

As discussed below, this trade really doesn’t make a lot of sense. Ken Berger is too good a reporter not to have gotten this from a reliable source but the Lakers have been clear on their intention to keep then re-sign Howard this summer. It’s hard to see them giving up on that to bring in Rajon, who has ruffled feathers with veterans in Boston and is undergoing an ACL surgery.  It didn’t pass the smell test, apparently for a good reason.

However, if the Celtics were negotiating with the Clippers and wanted to create some leverage, this is the kind of thing they would leak. Hypothetically.

February 15, 10:01 pm: On Friday, Dwight Howard said point blank that Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak told him he would not be traded at the deadline.

But this is the time of year when teams discuss all sorts of trade ideas. Some wild and seemingly unrealistic.

Like this note from Ken Berger of CBSSports.com — the Lakers have had preliminary discussions about trading Howard to their hated rival the Boston Celtics.

However, CBSSports.com has learned that the Lakers have engaged in preliminary trade discussions with an unlikely trade partner regarding Howard: their fierce rival, the Boston Celtics. The centerpieces of the possible deal, which hasn’t gained any traction, would be Howard and Rajon Rondo…

Other significant pieces would have to be involved, since Rondo’s $11 million salary is substantially less than Howard’s $19.5 million.

Some subsequent rumors after this reports said the idea was floated before Rondo got injured but died when his ACL tore.

Honestly, this doesn’t make a ton of sense — and Berger even admits that the Celtics have gotten the impression the Lakers are not trading Howard.

For the Lakers, you’d be throwing this season away trading for Rondo, who is out for the year and is about to undergo ACL surgery. Not that the Lakers current players haven’t seemingly thrown this season away all by themselves, but it’s different if management would do it. Plus, for the Lakers, they are trading away the guy they saw as the face of the franchise post Kobe. Is the temperamental Rondo really a better fit next to Kobe Bryant now? Is Rondo the guy you can build around long term?

It makes more sense for Boston — if they can get Howard to re-sign this summer. Which is no given, he has taken to saying he doesn’t want to talk about any of that until after the season. The Celtics would need assurances from Howard he would stay, then they still would have to give up someone like Brandon Bass and a younger player or pick just to make the numbers work.

I’ll add this, when the Lakers have made big trades (say getting Howard or Pau Gasol before that) they have come quickly and seemingly out of nowhere. This is not that.

Never say never, stranger things have happened in the NBA. But this is pretty much standing right next to never with it’s arm around it.

Smart money still says Howard is a Laker this season and next. Even if that frustrates some Lakers fans.

  1. gotampabay52 - Feb 15, 2013 at 10:06 PM

    Never will happen

    • Kansachusetts - Feb 16, 2013 at 1:24 PM

      On behalf of all intelligent Boston fans, please, NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  2. biasedhomer - Feb 15, 2013 at 10:06 PM

    Would make no sense for the Celtics to do this deal, unless the Lakers took on Jeff Green’s contract.

    • jcmeyer10 - Feb 16, 2013 at 9:14 AM

      If Green keeps playing like he is, that contract will look like impressive foresight instead of head scratching over payment.

  3. iamjimmyjack - Feb 15, 2013 at 10:12 PM

    Get going Howard. U don’t want to commit cuz it will “create a circus”. But in reality, not committing to the lakers leaves ppl to speculate and hence create the circus. Ur a dramatic child and ull never ever be a laker. U don’t fit the mold. The fans know it, Kobe knows it. Mitch knows it. The only person who probably doesn’t know it is Jim buss. Take him with u when ur gone Dwight.

    • gswgoboom - Feb 16, 2013 at 1:09 AM

      Howard actually fits the Laker mold perfectly cuz he’s soft!

  4. kingbeason52 - Feb 15, 2013 at 10:16 PM

    When both are 100% I think Dwight is the better player..he is the only true dominant center in the NBA..there are 3-4 elite point guards even though Rondo is a stat machine..I would keep Dwight..they both have maturity issues..

    • urodaddy07 - Feb 15, 2013 at 10:56 PM

      Again I’d like to point out that even at his best Dwight is not a dominant offensive player. Yes, he can give you 30 on a given night, but not consistently. he is more of 18 and 15 guy. His offensive game is way too limited. He is an inconsistent post player – has always been. He needs to get the ball in a few (maybe 2) very specific spots to score. He will never be a dominant offensive player. Can he dominate defensively? – Yes. But don’t expect Shaq or Hakeem type numbers. He is just not that good offensively. Still think he is a great player

      • kingbeason52 - Feb 16, 2013 at 9:14 AM

        He doesnt have to be a dominant offensive player..he needs to get rebounds, block shots, and clog the middle of the lane..Can anyone name an dominant offensive center in the game right now? Hell a bunch of teams dont even have true centers..the only other good one is Tyson Chandler and he is NOT an offensive threat

  5. bigwii - Feb 15, 2013 at 10:27 PM

    I swear to Larry Bird he better not do that trade

  6. halfbaht - Feb 15, 2013 at 10:34 PM

    You guys will report anything. Boston would never make a trade with Laker scum. Especially not for a player who is a big cry baby and put no effort in.

    • cosanostra71 - Feb 15, 2013 at 10:50 PM

      Lakers and Boston have made trades before. The Lakers provided the pick that became Rajon Rondo in the first place. This trade isn’t likely, but to say its because Boston and LA wouldn’t trade is wrong.

      • cbking05 - Feb 15, 2013 at 11:15 PM

        Suns drafted Rondo …if they provided the pick there was no intention on Boston getting a hold of it

      • cosanostra71 - Feb 16, 2013 at 3:27 AM

        Well, it’s a long complicated story and I don’t remember the whole thing.. but basically the Lakers traded the pick to the Celtics as part of the Gary Payton/Rick Fox/Chuckthree Atkins deal… Celtics then traded it to another team that I don’t remember… who then traded it to another team… who traded it to the Suns… who went full circle and traded Rondo back to the Celtics.

  7. fventricle - Feb 15, 2013 at 10:42 PM

    I thought you can’t trade injured players?

    • 00maltliquor - Feb 16, 2013 at 3:38 AM

      That’s NBA2K, my friend.

  8. eventhorizon04 - Feb 15, 2013 at 11:05 PM

    …What a weird trade, for a few reasons:

    1. The Lakers already have Steve Nash for another 2 years after this season. Rondo at age 26 is a better PG than Steve Nash at age 39, but the Lakers would be forced to try to trade Nash since $9 million per year is a lot to pay a backup PG.

    2. The Lakers forced Nash to play without the ball, as most Lakers PGs have done in the Kobe era. It sort of works because even without the ball, Nash is an elite shooter who spaces the floor. Rondo is a guy who would be mostly ineffective playing without the ball.

    3. Bigs are worth more than guards. Howard limited by a bad back and injured shoulder but still playing basketball is more valuable than Rondo out for the season with a torn ACL (which he likely won’t fully recover from until 2014 – ask Ricky Rubio and Derrick Rose).

    This trade makes a lot of sense for the Celtics – they could move KG to his natural position of PF. Because KG is an elite jump-shooter, KG + Howard wouldn’t have the spacing issues that Pau + Howard have in LA. A fully-healthy Howard can carry a roster to a top-4 seed in the East, and he’d fit in well with Doc Rivers’ defensive identity. Still, I don’t see a reason why the Lakers would accept it.

  9. ndirishfan1 - Feb 15, 2013 at 11:13 PM

    Yeah nobody saw the Howard to LA deal happening.

  10. 13arod - Feb 15, 2013 at 11:16 PM

    Makes no sense howard is a talented althelete but rondo so much better and what are they going to with steve nash next year?? And the lakers don’t have alot of guys who would replece howard?? And the celtics are red hot right now and i know rondo is out for the year but trading a future star away makes no sense at all and the lakers are still in playoff hunt

  11. 13arod - Feb 15, 2013 at 11:20 PM

    Nother point howard and rondo on same team would be so dangeras like howard was back with the magic with nelson (:

  12. dko83 - Feb 15, 2013 at 11:21 PM

    Celtics fans: No thanks, you can keep him.

    • phaden27 - Feb 16, 2013 at 2:31 AM

      Right back at ya pal.

      • dko83 - Feb 16, 2013 at 2:33 AM

        You think he’ll stay?

    • phaden27 - Feb 16, 2013 at 2:37 AM

      I hope so. It’s been fun watching the Lakers not only flail about with the media, but also not make the playoffs.

      • dko83 - Feb 16, 2013 at 2:38 AM

        You are sending me mixed signals my friend.

    • phaden27 - Feb 16, 2013 at 2:45 AM

      Ahhh. Clarification is in order.
      You’re not a Laker fan?

      • dko83 - Feb 16, 2013 at 2:57 AM

        My hatred for the Lakers is matched only by my unhealthy affection for Rondo. Seeing him play for the Lakers, and being a Celtics fan, would cause me to be pleased by a Lakers championship.. which in turn would trigger an identity crisis that would require months, if not years, of therapy. I hope Rondo never plays for the Lakers, if only to save me money on said therapy.

    • phaden27 - Feb 16, 2013 at 3:33 AM

      Bah. Then I misread the intent of your original post.
      Apologies.

      • 00maltliquor - Feb 16, 2013 at 3:47 AM

        That was one of the funniest back and forth threads I’ve read on here

  13. yuckabuck - Feb 15, 2013 at 11:55 PM

    Rondo is the Laker’s point guard of the future. I get a kick out of all these Laker’s fan saying that such a trade makes no sense of LA. Doesn’t anybody remember why Jimmie Buss dumped Phil Jackson in the first place? The reported reason at the time was that JB thought the triangle was boring and that he wanted to return to the Showtime offense. As soon as I heard that, I knew that he wanted Rondo. I’ve never seen anybody throw one handed bounce passes on the break like Magic used to until Rondo. Remember the rumor that had Rondo going to the Lakers for Pau Gasol? I still think it was real. As soon as LA offers something that Danny Ainge wants, you LA fans will have your Showtime back, assuming that Kupchack can build the rest of the team with young guys who will run with Rondo.

    As a Celtic fan, I’m not sure I’d miss Rondo, but I really don’t want Howard either.

  14. 24thesho - Feb 15, 2013 at 11:58 PM

    Howard would shrivel up in Celtic world. I don’t like the Celtics but would not be putting up with Howard’s b.s. for more that a week, at best.

  15. colincb - Feb 16, 2013 at 12:14 AM

    Can’t see Celtics and Lakers doing a major trade. Ever.

  16. sportsnut101 - Feb 16, 2013 at 1:04 AM

    Why would lakers do this isn’t Nash signed for 3 yrs Nash n Howard for rondo n picks they money wouldn’t match up or come close.

    This prolly just another useless rumor we all fall for

    Rondo n Kobe together yea right

  17. gasan2013pananaw - Feb 16, 2013 at 1:32 AM

    Ha Ha Ha Ho Ho Ho dwight Howard for Rondo? ha Ha Ha Ha Ho Ho Ho Ho Ho Ho Ho I’m on the floor now in tears.Ho Ho Ho Ho Ho Ho Ho Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Plsease stop it Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ho Ho Ho!!!

  18. money2long - Feb 16, 2013 at 1:48 AM

    some people crushed me when i said kg wouldn’t mind playing on the lakers if it landed him in LA. ppl said that couldn’t be the case because there’s no way la and bos would engage in trade talks.
    wonder what they think now

  19. kb2408 - Feb 16, 2013 at 1:49 AM

    This will not happen because Mitch is not dumb. I love Rajon but I wouldn’t trade Howard straight up for him. And Boston has nothing else the Lakers want. On the other hand, Celtics fans need to stop acting like they would be opposed to this deal. After all, it’s not like elite free agents are clamoring to play there.

    • scalfor3 - Feb 16, 2013 at 1:09 PM

      It’s a swap of elite players. I personally would rather have Rondo than Howard, largely due to how much Rondo steps up his game every year in the postseason.

  20. knickstape84 - Feb 16, 2013 at 3:59 AM

    if Gasol and Rondo were healthy this trade would have happen already…..

  21. 00maltliquor - Feb 16, 2013 at 4:04 AM

    Im not quite sure how I feel about this trade scenario.

    1) Howard’s leaving. Case closed. Might as well get something back in return (a stance I was against not too long ago).

    2) Rondo may never come back the same again. And even when he does, that will be a loooong ways away.

    3) A Rondo/Bryant backcourt…the fire that drives these two men not to lose is unmatched. That would be AWESOME to have such a fierce competitor, but then again…would it only be for half a year since he’s out for soooo long?

    4) Kinda have a hard time swallowing trading a top notch C for a PG. Rondo can’t shoot and we have D’Antoni. So if he can’t shoot, Kobe is the main guy with the ball in his hands (Kobe took the ball out of Steve freakin’ Nash’s hands for Christ sakes, how would it be any different for Rondo?), and Mike D doesn’t focus on D. That would render Rondo irrelevent and with his attitude would blow up the locker room.

    5) I LOVE Rondo, really not in love with Howard.

    6) Rondo is on one hell of a value contract.

    • spthegr8 - Feb 16, 2013 at 9:53 AM

      @Malt
      Im with you on this one homie. But I’m a FIRM believer in NOT trading Big for small!! Beside’s, Rondo is a head case coming off a serious injury. Not that D12 isn’t a head case. Mitch tell Danny, thanks but……….NO THANKS!!!!

  22. daddyghi - Feb 16, 2013 at 7:23 AM

    perhaps all dwight need is a little whoopin from KG..

  23. rjlink1 - Feb 16, 2013 at 7:49 AM

    Assuming both these guys were healthy right now and assuming Dwight were already signed (both of which question marks make a trade too risky for either side), why would the Lakers trade big for small? To get a guy whose elite skill is distributing the ball? That sounds like Steve Nash to me.

  24. cranespy - Feb 16, 2013 at 8:39 AM

    There was actually a period of time in Howards last season jn Orlando that I was convinced that Dwight was simply misunderstood…..boy was I wrong…he has to be one of the biggest head cases to ever take the floor…..TRADE HIM NOW….

  25. omniusprime - Feb 16, 2013 at 8:56 AM

    Where did this idiotic idea of a trade of Howard for Rondo come from? Oh yeah from some idiotic sports pundit moron, where else. It’s obvious the Lakers aren’t going to trade Howard away, if they do then the Lakers are toast. Although this does have some possibility considering how stupid the little idiot buss boy is.

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

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