Bill Carey
Wednesday February 20th, 2013

The Los Angeles Lakers will not trade Dwight Howard or Pau Gasol before Thursday's deadline, general manager Mitch Kupchak said Wednesday on ESPN Radio.

Kupchak said that the relationship between Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard -- who have reportedly been unhappy with each other -- is a "work in progress."

Kupchak repeatedly defended Howard, who has struggled in his first season in L.A. and received criticism for his effort. Howard has also dealt with a shoulder injury.

Howard is a free agent after the season.

Kupchak also said the Lakers would not trade Gasol, whose role has been diminished by Howard's presence and coach Mike D'Antoni's system. Gasol is currently out with a right foot injury. The Lakers, expected to contend for a title this year after the offseason acquisitions of Howard and point guard Steve Nash, are currently 25-29, tied for ninth in the Western Conference standings.

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