The Lakers are preparing for the departure of Dwight Howard
Now, they're starting to get a bit worried that Howard's going to spurn their advances and end up somewhere else, despite their best efforts to keep him around.
They're now taking down the banner, which is going to be a bit awkward, thanks to the perceived meaning of that particular action.
Are they just hedging their bets? Or are they backing off their pursuit of him? Most likely, they're just hedging their bets, and trying to appear a little less desperate, now that it seems like they're falling behind in the DH12 sweepstakes.
According to reports, the Lakers are fourth on Dwight's list of potential landing spots, trailing the Rockets, Mavericks and Hawks.
The Lakers have been pretty adamant against a sign-and-trade that would send Howard elsewhere in exchange for picks or players, but they might be starting to warm up to that idea, now that it's looking like their only option.
The sign-and-trade would allow Howard to sign for an extra year, and would net him about $30M more than he could get by just signing outright with another team.
However, a potential sign-and-trade could significantly decrease the level of talent around him when he gets to his new team.
If Howard seriously wants to do whatever it takes to win, he won't worry about the few extra dollars, and he won't force a team to go the sign-and-trade route, since that could mean the departure of at least one star from the roster of his new team.
We'll see how he chooses to play this out.