Kupchak Told Dwight Howard He Won’t Be Traded

4:30pm: Despite the Lakers' assurances to Howard, league sources still believe the team could field calls on D12, tweets Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld.

1:09pm: Earlier this month, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak publicly stated that the team has no intention of trading Dwight Howard. It appears the Lakers' private stance is the same as its public stance — today, Howard told reporters, including Ken Berger of CBSSports.com (Twitter link), that Kupchak has definitively informed him he won't be moved at the deadline.

The Lakers' intentions aren't surprising, considering reports have indicated that the team remains "very confident" Howard will re-sign in free agency this summer. However, amidst the Lakers' frustrating first half, there had been some speculation that Howard wasn't a fit with the team's roster, and that either he or Pau Gasol needed to be moved. With Gasol likely out of action until April, recent trade speculation had focused on Howard.

Assuming the Lakers keep Howard, they'll be able to offer him a maximum contract in July worth about $30MM more in guaranteed money than any other team will be able to offer, as I explained last summer.

With Howard expected to remain in Los Angeles through the deadline, Kupchak and the front office may explore minor moves, but it wouldn't be a surprise to see the current roster remain relatively intact as the club prepares to make a second-half playoff push.

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