Could the Lakers and Celtics complete an unholy trade involving the likes of the injured Rajon Rondo and the sluggish Dwight Howard?
It is possible, according to a report by CBSSports.com Friday night. Reporter Ken Berger said: CBSSports.com has learned that the Lakers have engaged in preliminary trade discussions with an unlikely trade partner regarding Howard: their fierce rival, the Boston Celtics. The centerpieces of the possible deal, which hasn't gained any traction, would be Howard and Rajon Rondo.
Howard has produced solid numbers this year despite the Lakers (25-29) struggles. The big man is averaging 16.3 ppg with 11.8 rpb. Though the numbers are below Howard's traditional averages (he averaged 22.9 and 14.1 in his peak year of 2011), the center is just 27-years-old.
There are several huge risks involved if the Celtics are to trade for Howard. Most important, is having him re-sign past this year. Howard is an unrestricted free agent this summer unless a deal could be worked out via trade. Second is Howard's health, which is under constant scrutiny. The center had surgery on his back last year and has not been right since. Regarding his herniated disk, Howard said this as recently as October:
"What a lot of people don't know is, when I hurt my back, it affected my nerves to the point where my whole left leg went dead," Howard told ESPN. "Basically, I couldn't do a calf raise."
A Lakers trade with the rival Celtics would be highly unlikely, not just because the Celtics are the Celtics. While Los Angeles covets a young point guard like Rondo, he would not be able to play for LA for the rest of this season due to his recent ACL injury. Chicago point guard Derrick Rose suffered an ACL injury in the first game of the Bulls' playoff run last spring and has not yet returned. In fact, Rose may not even play for the Bulls in the 2013 postseason due to lingering concern over his injury.
Rondo is signed with the Celtics with a contract average of $11 million per year through 2015.