After the summer long drama, the Lakers landed Howard and Nash and Las Vegas odds makers made them the team to beat in the Western Conference.
Fast forward to the 2012-13 season nearing the All-Star break, and the Lakers are 17-24 and in third place in the Pacific Division and seemingly on a sinking ship.
So is it possible after all the drama Howard stirred up in the off season that he could be traded from the Lakers?
According to ESPN, it may happen.
ESPN reported on Jan. 23 that the Lakers have "consistently turned away trade inquiries in recent weeks for All-Star center Dwight Howard and still believe they have a strong chance of signing him to a new contract when Howard becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer, according to sources close to the situation."
The bottom line here is that Howard must either: (a) love drama and want that "free agency attention" again this off-season, or (b) not want to stay with the Lakers.
Howard made it clear last summer that he wanted to stay on the east coast and play with Brooklyn Nets, but a deal could never be hammered out between Orlando and the Nets. Could it be possible that he is just playing out the season with hope of hearing an offer in the off season from the Nets?
Howard has put up good numbers with LA, but something seems out of sync between him and the rest of the Lakers.
After losing the Derrick Rose-less Bulls, Kobe Bryant said:
“Obviously, this isn’t working … I’ve tried to go out of my way to get (Howard) the ball … I’ve constantly tried to help him out, tried to talk to him,” Bryant continued. “Two o’clock in the morning, three o’clock in the morning. Texting him. Sharing reading materials. Anything to try and help him. He’s coming off a major surgery in a market where it’s just merciless; where there’s demands and responsibilities of athletes. It’s been tough on him.”
The Las Vegas odds on the Lakers winning the 2012-13 NBA title have dropped off a bit during the season. Once at 4.5/1, LA is now 7 or 8/1 depending on which casino you check.
It seems the gambling public is losing faith in the Lakers at the moment too.