Since spurning the Los Angeles Lakers to play for the Houston Rockets, the reports haven’t stopped. Rumors have surfaced every which way you turn, like he still hadn’t made a decision or something. Only we’re nearly two months removed from his decision. Still, his link to the Lakers has yet to be severed.
The latest—which we waited a few days to bring you so you could let all the other B.S. marinate—has Howard making absurd demands at the expense of Mike D’Antoni and Kobe Bryant.
According to a report filed by CSN Bay Area’s Ric Bucher, Superman wanted the Lakers to fire D’Antoni and amnesty or “muzzle” Kobe:
Talks with various people close to the situation make it clear there were two prerequisites for Dwight Howard to
remain a Laker: fire Mike D’Antoni and amnesty, or at the very least muzzle, Kobe Bryant. As audacious as that might sound, it doesn’t come without precedent in Lakers’ history.
The Lakers apparently asked Dwight to be patient on both fronts for at least another season, telling him “hey, you’re going to have to gut this out another year,” a source said, although it sounds as if VP of basketball ops Jim Buss isn’t ready to abandon Kobe anytime soon.
“Dwight didn’t want to play with Kobe for 2-3 more years,” Buss said. “I’m going to stand behind Kobe because of his history with the franchise.” It would seem, then, with all that happened, the Lakers had the wherewithal to keep Howard if they had desired; they simply found the price too high.
Talk about feeling entitled.
Just as there’s always a shred of truth in every rumor, you can usually detect a bit of embellishing as well. That much of this comes from Jim Buss himself, however, kind of limits our ability to disprove it. Though I would never attempt to dismiss this as anything other than fact anyway, because I believe it. I’ll stop short of saying it’s so Dwight Howard, but it’s most certainly keeping in theme with the whole ordeal.
If it’s true (it is), then Howard has some balls on him. Demanding that the Lakers fire Magic Mike is one thing; attempting to control the future and/or will of Kobe is another thing entirely.
Did he honestly think the Lakers would grant him either of his two wishes? Like seriously, he had to realize how absurd they were. Los Angeles was never going to pick him over Kobe. Not right now, at least. Had he rode out the next year, then maybe the Lakers would’ve made it clear to Kobe next summer that Dwight was running the show. But to tell them they needed to amnesty or muzzle him? Get real.
Dwight really must not have wanted to play for the Lakers, because no one in their right mind would make such implausible requests. Not-so-deep down, he had to know that, when push came to shove, the Lakers would bid him farewell before messing with Kobe. Even an injured Kobe. He had to know that, because I know that. And you know that. We all know it.
Plenty of people will use this to fuel the “Dwight Howard is shamelessly selfish” label he’s bestowed upon himself, and that’s fine. But when you really think about it, and I mean really think about it, this seems more like a plausible deniability type of thing. Now Howard can say he would have stayed with the Lakers if they met his his demands, when his demands really couldn’t be met by anyone who knows how to conduct business.
Whether he wanted Kobe (and D’Antoni) out doesn’t matter now. The deed is done. Howard is in Houston and the Lakers chose Kobe over everything. Just like Howard himself had to know they would.
Dan Favale is a firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His musings can be found at Bleacherreport.com in addition to TheHoopDoctors.com. Follow @danfavale on Twitter for his latest posts and all things NBA.