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NBA Rumors: Lakers Still in Hunt for Dwight Howard, Looking to Add Jodie Meeks?

Dwight Howard and the amazingly indecisive Orlando Magic will not stop Mitch Kupchak and his Los Angeles Lakers from making moves this summer.

While a potential trade for the NBA’s best center continues to be a viable option, L.A. is now apparently shifting its focus onto adding depth and three-point shooting.

Over the past week, we’ve gone from a situation where it looked as though a deal for Howard was imminent, to a situation where Orlando may very well hold on to him until at least January of next year.

After the Magic’s failed last-ditch attempt to make nice with their disgruntled big man two days ago, it’s apparent that one way or another they’ll part ways; but it’s very debatable whether or not the Lakers will be involved. Because of how notoriously difficult three-team deals are to work out, the likelihood of Orlando brass trading Howard to Brooklyn next January is a bit greater than them trading him to Los Angeles.

Of course, Kupchak isn’t one to be deterred by long odds. Via ESPN LA:                   

The Lakers' position on Howard has remained relatively unchanged for the past few months, league sources familiar with the situation have told The Lakers always have been willing to trade for Howard without assurances he'd re-sign with them after the season, believing that once Howard experienced a championship culture, he would want to stay.

However, the Lakers also remain unwilling to take back burdensome contracts from Orlando that would subject them to the most punitive luxury-tax penalties under the new collective bargaining agreement, according to sources.

Translation: if Magic management comes to its senses and realizes that they don’t want to start 2012-13 with Howard on their roster, the Lakers are ready and willing to make a deal. The right deal, though. And if the right deal can’t be made, then Kupchak and Co. are perfectly content switching their focus onto re-signing Andrew Bynum.

On the non-Howard front, the Lakers are also working to add the final touches on what has become a really underrated group of reserves. At the start of this summer, L.A.’s bench was embarrassing – no question about it. But between signing Antawn Jamison, and resigning Jordan Hill and Devin Ebanks, Kupchak has put together a very nice group that should be able to score and bang under the basket when the starters are off the floor.

The one thing that this squad still needs, however, is a bit of shooting. Which is why, according to Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld, they’re looking at a guy who could adequately fill that hole:

The Los Angeles Lakers continue to express interest in Jodie Meeks, according to source. No deal is imminent, but the two sides are talking.

— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) July 27, 2012

Meeks, 24, averaged eight points on 41 percent shooting for the Philadelphia 76ers last year. He’s also a 37 percent three point shooter for his career, which is solid given the amount of PT that he’s gotten. He could provide a nice little scoring punch for L.A. when Kobe Bryant is off the court, and be a good person to help take attention off Jamison when the reserves are doing their thing. Obviously he’s no Brandon Rush, but he’s about as good a player as you can hope to add under these sort of circumstances.

Get more Lakers news and rumors on Twitter: @agroberman

(Kudos ESPN and Alex Kennedy via Lakers Nation)

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