This week, Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak proclaimed that the team will not trade Dwight Howard before the deadline, and while that means D12 may remain in purple and gold through the end of the season, it doesn't preclude a change of scenery before 2013 is through. Howard will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, and though the Lakers are "very confident" he'll re-sign, plenty of other teams figure to be in pursuit, notably the Rockets, Hawks and Mavs. Here's more of what we're hearing:
- Howard said he and his father talk every day — just not about basketball — and remains hesitant to address Dwight Sr.'s public comments, as Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News documents. Howard's father called for his son to sit down with Bryant and coach Mike D'Antoni to hash out their problems, but Bryant and D'Antoni don't think there's anything to discuss.
- The transition from being the unquestioned team leader in Orlando to Kobe Bryant's sidekick with the Lakers has worn on Howard, his father believes, but Dwight Sr. told Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution he thinks his son will still re-sign with L.A.
- Dwight Sr. rules out the Nets as a potential destination for his son, who are unlikely to have the cap space to sign him anyway, but seemed to leave the door open for the Hawks, who play in the family's hometown. "Dwight hasn’t said anything about Atlanta, either. But he likes home. I think he would love to end his career here, even though he hasn’t said that publicly," Dwight Sr. said.
- Despite last year's "Dwightmare," Howard's father isn't sure that his son truly wanted to leave the Magic, believing he received poor advice from his representatives.
- The younger Howard had little response to his father's remarks, telling reporters, including Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register, "I'm not getting into it" (Twitter link).
- Rashard Lewis, one of Howard's former teammates with the Magic, offered his prediction for the big man's summer as well, letting Chris Tomasson of Fox Sports Florida know his "gut feeling" is that Howard will re-sign with the Lakers (Sulia link). "He most definitely likes the city, likes the organization," Lewis said. "It’s one of the first-class organizations. The Lakers have a history of winning championships, and that’s what he wants to do is win championships. So we’ll see what happens at the end of the season, but my gut feeling is I think he’ll stay there."