The more intriguing thing is how the Lakers would recover from losing a presumptive core piece of their future (he was totally worth trading for, even as a year-long rental).
Without Kobe for most of the season (and who knows how well he will be able to play), the Lakers could be awful, with few pieces to trade away (Gasol?) and an even worse situation on the court after that - it even begs the question if it is something Kobe would even want to be a part of. A Lottery pick next June would help - but not THAT much (or certainly that quickly).
Meanwhile, Houston joins a very short list of teams that should/could consider themselves actual title contenders, along with the Spurs, Thunder and Heat. That's it.
Howard in Houston is - ok: would be - the most intriguing storyline of the 2013-2014 NBA season.