Mitch Kupchak told Dwight Howard he wouldn't be traded, according to report

USA TODAY Sports

Despite a shaky beginning to their partnership, the Lakers don't intend to give up on Dwight Howard just yet.

Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak told center Dwight Howard that he wouldn't be traded before the trade deadline on Feb. 21, Chris Broussard of ESPN Los Angeles reports.

While rumors had emerged that the Lakers would consider dealing Howard in the wake of their disappointing start to the 2012-13 season, Kupchak has made it clear in recent days that that won't happen. After recently telling the media he wouldn't trade Howard, Kupchak reportedly gave the same message to Howard directly.

While the partnership between Howard and the Lakers hasn't thrived yet, partially due to a series of injuries to the big man beginning with offseason back surgery, it doesn't appear that the franchise is willing to bail just yet.

The former Defensive Player of the Year will be a free agent this summer, but the Lakers can offer significantly more money than any other team by re-signing him to a five-year contract, giving them a major advantage.

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