It's been almost a month since Dwight Howard was traded to the Lakers.
Los Angeles acquired the center in a four-team deal that saw Andrew Bynum go to Philadelphia. Howard comes to L.A. as a free agent-to-be in 2013, and might not be with the Lakers for more than a year.
Howard's contract is up at the end of the season, and he has stated that he won't re-sign and will explore free agency. The All-Star can make more money by waiting until the summer to sign a new contract, so he has little incentive make a decision on his future just yet.
The Lakers are seemingly a perfect fit for Howard. After trading for Steve Nash, L.A. is one of the favorites to win the NBA Finals. Along with Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, they have four potential All-Stars in their starting lineup.
Still, it's no certainty that Howard will stay in Los Angeles.
Trading for Howard was somewhat of a gamble by the Lakers. While the center has embraced being moved from Orlando, L.A. wasn't his preferred destination. Howard made it clear the entire offseason that he wanted to go to Brooklyn, indicating that he will sign with them in the summer of 2013. That no longer seems likely, because the Nets won't have enough cap space to bring in a high priced free agent.
With the Nets likely off the table, the Mavericks have become the front runners to potentially sign Howard away from the Lakers. ESPN's Marc Stein says the center could be headed to Dallas if he doesn't like L.A.
"If Los Angeles doesn't work out for Dwight, Dallas will be there waiting for him," a source told Stein.
The Mavericks are one of the few potential playoff teams that could have enough money to bring in Howard. The Rockets are also an option for Howard.
Despite having a year left on his contract, there's a good chance the center won't get to play a full season with the Lakers. His 2011-12 season ended early with the Magic because he had to undergo back surgery.
A timetable for Howards' return hasn't been set, and there's a good chance he could miss the start of the year. If Howard misses a large portion of the year, it could severely hurt the Lakers title chances.
Bynum is probably the best center in the NBA, other than Howard. He averaged career highs with 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds per game. Whereas Howard has expressed a desire to play elsewhere, Bynum hasn't ever mentioned a specific city that he wanted to sign with. Los Angeles probably had a better chance of keeping Bynum over Howard.
Even though Howard will look at all his options, L.A. is still, probably, the best destination for him. The center wants to win a championship, and Los Angeles might be the best place for him to do so.
It's not realistic that he can sign with Brooklyn, because of salary cap restrictions. Houston is rebuilding, and doesn't have a second star to complement Howard. Teaming with Dirk Nowitzki would make the Mavericks a title contender, but they would still have two fewer stars than the Lakers.
If money is Howard's biggest concern, he'll certainly stay with L.A. The Lakers can offer Howard one more year on his contract than any other team.
Los Angeles wasn't Howard's first choice, but it looks like his best option. It remains to be seen how he'll take to the upcoming season in L.A., but the Lakers stand a good chance of bringing back their latest acquisition in 2013.