With the Lakers struggling through the 2012/13 season and Dwight Howard facing free agency at this summer, there's been some speculation recently that general manager Mitch Kupchak could look to move the All-Star center before this month's trade deadline. Speaking to Newsday's Steven Marcus, however, Kupchak says the team doesn't intend to deal Howard.
"We will not make a trade," Kupchak said. "We will not trade Dwight Howard. We have no intention of making a trade. It's unlikely that we'll make any trade with any of our principal players. To make another change at this time of the year being behind the eight-ball like we are, I think that would just make it more difficult. The talent is there. We have to find our way."
The Lakers have been playing better ball lately, having won five of their last six games. But even that stretch hasn't been smooth sailing, as it included a pair of near-collapses against the Hornets and Pistons, and a loss to the 16-32 Suns in Phoenix. Still, while he acknowledges that it's taken some time for everyone to get on the same page, Kupchak is confident in the current roster, and doesn't think it's too old to be a contender.
"Old? If you're looking to make excuses, I suppose," Kupchak said. "I put this team together with Jim Buss. We don't think they're too old. We have great experience. When I look at our team and I make a list of things that may contribute to our record to date, age is not one of them. I think seven or eight games from now we'll have more answers. We're trying to get into the playoffs and make a run."
Besides Howard, Pau Gasol has also been mentioned as a potential trade candidate for the Lakers. Kupchak didn't specifically name Gasol as someone who absolutely won't be moved, but his comments suggest the Lakers don't plan to seriously explore that possibility.