The Los Angeles Lakers have engaged in preliminary discussions with the Boston Celtics on a trade centering on Dwight Howard and Rajon Rondo, according to sources.

The potential deal has not gained any traction, and other significant pieces would need to be involved.

The Lakers have adamantly stated publicly and privately that they will not deal Howard before the Feb. 21 trade deadline.

Danny Ainge will not pull the trigger on a trade sending Rondo for Howard unless the Celtics receive assurance that Howard would re-sign with Boston in the offseason, according to a league source.

Mitch Kupchak strongly denied the trade report in comments to ESPN's Chris Broussard.

"I haven't talked to Danny Ainge in weeks," Kupchak said. "I made the statement a week or 2 ago that we're not going to trade Dwight Howard and that hasn't changed."

Kupchak also said that he hasn't spoken with anyone else within the Celtics' organization.