Is trading for Dwight Howard worth the risk for the Lakers?

The Lakers, Brooklyn Nets and Houston Rockets reportedly are interested in trading for center Dwight Howard, who is one disgruntled employee of the Orlando Magic. The Lakers could swap center Andrew Bynum, who was something of a headache for them despite a breakout season in 2011-12, in order to get Howard.

The question is, is Howard worth the risk for the Lakers?

For starters, Howard told Yahoo! Sports there’s only one team he wished to be traded to, and if he’s dealt elsewhere he would play out the season and become a free agent and sign with the team he wanted to play for all along. The Nets, relocating this coming season to Brooklyn from New Jersey, reportedly are that team.

“There’s only one team on my list and if I don’t get traded there, I’ll play the season out and explore my free agency after that,” Howard told Yahoo! without mentioned the team by name.

Asked about the status of his injured back, Howard wouldn’t (or couldn’t) say whether he would be fit to participate in the opening of training camp in October. He can’t play for Team USA in the London Olympics later this month after undergoing season-ending surgery to repair a disk and remove bone fragments in April.

Howard said the injury was serious and bristled when asked if he was aware of comments from outside the Orlando organization that he had quit on the Magic.

“I’ve never faked anything,” Howard said. “I’d never fake a back injury to not play for my team. I played a lot of games in a lot of pain, and there were times that I was crying in the locker room afterward because I was so seriously hurt. But I kept fighting. I’ve played with a cracked sternum in the past, and played with a lot of different (injuries). This time, I couldn’t play. Regardless of what people say, ‘Hey, you’re Superman,’ I’m a man. I bleed. And I have bones, too. And something happened that I couldn’t control.”

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