Dwight Howard rumors: Lakers say they won't trade star center

USA TODAY Sports

The Lakers' GM didn't mince words when confronted with the question of Howard's short-term future in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak knows this season is in jeopardy of being an epic failure, but says he's going to stay the course with this personnel and retain superstar Dwight Howard through the remainder of the 2012-13 season.

For more on the Lakers, visit Silver Screen & Roll

Kupchak told Newsday's Long Island edition on Monday that the Lakers need to continue to develop team chemistry and that any trade involving key players is highly unlikely, especially when it comes to 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."

Howard will be a free agent this summer, and the seven-time All-Star has not made any long-term commitment to remain in Los Angeles. Given the Lakers' struggles this season, it was believed that the Lakers could possibly trade the superstar rather than risk losing him for no compensation.

The statement should be taken with a grain of salt, as the tumultuous season in Los Angeles is riddled with uncertainty. General managers can easily change their thought process if a good enough offer comes along.

Howard has struggled with injuries over the past month, suffering a torn labrum in January that has caused him to miss several games. He's also still feeling the lingering affects of a back injury he received surgery for last year, ending his 2011-12 season.

In 43 games this season, Howard has averaged 16.5 points and 11.9 rebounds per contest.

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