Will Dwight Howard be on the Los Angeles Lakers next season?
Everybody knows that Dwight Howard wants to be a Laker, said a person familiar with the All-Star center's plans, according to CBSSports.com. They're going to lose Dwight Howard for nothing. He's not staying there. Dwight Howard is going to be in the same mode as LeBron James.
Acquiring Howard may only take the Lakers giving up Andrew Bynum, and perhaps some draft picks, as the Magic would likely want a big man in exchange for their star center.
But trading Howard to the Lakers could open up a public relations nightmare for Orlando.
Sure the team wants something in exchange for Howard, and Bynum is only 22, and has plenty of upside. But letting another great center go to the Lakers, after the famous free agent signing of Shaquille O'Neal in 1996, would stir up bad memories and upset the fanbase.
Magic fans don't want to see Howard in a Lakers uniform. General Manager Otis Smith will have to shop Howard around quickly and quietly. Should a trade rumor fall through, it would ignite bad blood between Howard and the organization.
A big reason this trade could go through, is that the player or players that Howard would be traded for wouldn't take Howard's new team out of contention.
When Kobe Bryant demanded a trade after the 2006-2007 season, a stumbling block was Bryant's destination would be depleted because of the players the team would have given up to get him.
The Magic are in a similar situation. Howard wants out, and wants to go to a contender.
The Lakers might be the only reasonable destination. But sending Howard to Hollywood is a tough pill to swallow for Orlando, even if it makes sense.
Perhaps the Magic would include a third team to take the sting out of the deal, but the Magic probably want Bynum, not another team's package.
One thing is for sure, the Magic need to get something in return for Howard, because if he walks without the team getting something return, it will be a humiliating setback.