This is how it works out in Hollywood: The Lakers get superstars, and keep them.
It’s how the NBA’s Tiffany franchise operated for 33 years under Dr. Jerry Buss, when they were winning 10 titles and playing in six other Finals. Until they decide to change how they do their basketball business, that’s exactly how the Lakers are expected to proceed, with the children of Buss now fully in charge.
If it’s going to be business as usual with Jim Buss, Jerry’s son, running the show, as he’s done in recent seasons, then don’t expect the Lakers to trade Dwight Howard before Thursday’s NBA trading deadline.
“We don’t anticipate anything dramatic taking place,” said GM Mitch Kupchak.
Dramatic would be trading Howard, the future face of the franchise.

The only way the Lakers would trade Howard would be if they get equal value in return. Kupchak isn’t planning on it.
So the big talk, with the deadline another day away, isn’t about Howard, but mainly surrounds Atlanta’s Josh Smith. The Hawks don’t want to pay Smith max-money this summer when he goes free agent, for obvious reasons. He’s a highlight fixture with his acrobatic dunks, but he’s still looking for his first All-Star selection. His demand to go from being paid $13 million this season to upwards of $19 million per is scaring off teams.
The rebuilding Suns are desperate enough to make a play for Smith. Last week they weren’t interested. But this week, they quietly had some of their personnel people call around to get reports on the ninth-year forward. When a team begins to try to get a handle on a player through other GMs and scouts, that usually means they’re serious.
“Phoenix is definitely interested in Smith,” said one scout. “Whether they can pull something off, we’ll see.”
Brooklyn would like Smith, who would be a major upgrade for the Nets frontcourt. However, the Nets are thin in the assets department. But that doesn’t mean that Billy King won’t continue to talk to his old Duke buddy, Atlanta GM Danny Ferry. Ferry came over from the Spurs, who are seen as a dark horse for Smith.


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