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Report: Kobe, Howard almost came to blows after New Year’s Day loss

Jan 7, 2013, 12:56 PM EST

Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard AP

UPDATE 12:56 pm: As we suggested in the story below, pretty much everyone around the Lakers is saying “what are you talking about?” Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLA.com went on SportsCenter and said: “Everybody I’ve talked to associated with the Lakers said nothing like that has happened.”

She went on to say the chemistry in the Lakers locker room has not been great and the losing adds to that tension.

As we said in the original post, there are people around the league that are hoping Howard bolts Los Angeles because they would like to get their hands on a franchise center. It’s not happening unless Howard leaves this summer as a free agent, and frankly all indications are he is not leaving as a free agent this summer. He wants to be the next franchise anchor of the Lakers.

The Lakers are struggling and losses inflame issues on teams. Enough losses and some infighting could change the scenario in Lakersland. But don’t bet on it.

10:04 am: Salt. As in take this report with a large grain of it because of where we are hearing this.

No doubt the Lakers, now losers of three straight after Sunday night, are a frustrated bunch. They were a frustrated bunch on Tuesday when they lost to Philadelphia at home, a game where Kobe Bryant had 36 points and Dwight Howard had 7 on 1-of-7 shooting (but did have 14 rebounds).

The New York Daily News is reporting the two almost came to blows in the locker room after the game.

A league source told the Daily News that the Lakers stars got into a heated exchange following a New Year’s Day loss to the 76ers, and Bryant went for a low blow – referencing and agreeing with Shaquille O’Neal’s criticisms of Howard being soft.

Howard was restrained from going at his teammate, according to the source, and there have been rumblings from the center’s camp that he’s been unhappy with Bryant since earlier in the season.

Salt. And why should we be wary of this rumor? Two reasons.

First, none of the Lakers media has reported it — there are very good beat writers and broadcasters who cover the Lakers and there is not a chance they sit on this if they knew. Instead, the report comes from “league sources” which talks to a paper on the other coast. That should raise eyebrows.

Second, they talk to Stefan Bondy of the Daily News — a good reporter but a guy who covers the Nets. Bondy goes on in the story linked above to talk about how the Nets would still want Howard to pair with Deron Williams and now they could do a sign and trade with Brook Lopez next summer and….

Pipe dream.

Howard’s camp and Howard himself have said up to recently that the big man is happy in Los Angeles and has hinted he plans to sign an extension with the Lakers this summer when Howard becomes a free agent.

Certainly there is frustration around the Lakers right now as they continue to struggle, particularly on defense, and have put themselves in a place where the talk has gone from titles to making the playoffs. And there can be no doubt Kobe and Howard are a contrast of locker room styles — Kobe is focused and serious when it comes to business, Howard wants things to be fun.

But it is still a huge leap from there to to a near locker room fight and dreams of Howard considering further damage to his already scarred reputation by going out on the free agent market or forcing another trade (even if it is a sign-and-trade). I’m just not buying it.

And let the denials from the Lakers start in 5…4…3…

  1. shockexchange - Jan 7, 2013 at 10:10 AM

    The Shock Exchange doesn’t believe this story. With all the media scrutiny surrounding the Lakers, why would it take so long for this story to surface. The Shock Exchange loves to poke fun at the lazy, entitled Lakers, but this story sounds like the media is simply piling on.

    • zerole00 - Jan 7, 2013 at 10:29 AM

      Do you even realize how big of a dork you come as by constantly referring to yourself in the third person?

      • shockexchange - Jan 7, 2013 at 10:48 AM

        You know why the Shock Exchange refers to himself in 3rd person? Because when he crosses half-court he’s in range, and when gets 1/2 a step on you he’s gonna hit you with the floater. Now go run tell that.

      • yeslock - Jan 7, 2013 at 11:14 AM

        I admit, I lol’ed at your response Shock Exchange

      • davidly - Jan 7, 2013 at 1:04 PM

        Go tell that to Disco Stu, smart guy.

      • zerole00 - Jan 7, 2013 at 2:48 PM

        Cool, so you responded with a non-answer. Enjoy living in whatever delusion you’re in.

      • shockexchange - Jan 8, 2013 at 12:05 AM

        The Shock Exchange sees ya trollin’ … ya hatin’ … trollin’ tryna catch him ridin’ diiiirrrtttyyy …

    • fanofevilempire - Jan 7, 2013 at 12:09 PM

      Kobe should have slapped him the first day of training camp, now it is too late, the season is lost!

  2. bucrightoff - Jan 7, 2013 at 10:12 AM

    The implosion, which is still to come by the way, is going to be the best part of this Lakers season.

    • badintent - Jan 7, 2013 at 1:08 PM

      Cue the War song “Why can’t we be friends ? ”
      Guess the Howard quote about being” friends on the court even if they ain’t friends off the court has given this story some street cred.” Kurt, you sly dog you.More Faker Drama for the imposters for the Laker rosters

      Somewhere both Mike and Phil are laughing so hard , they’re in pain.

  3. dmitchell624 - Jan 7, 2013 at 10:44 AM

    I have one rule, If Kurt Helin has an opinion I believe the opposite.

    • unxpexted1 - Jan 7, 2013 at 11:28 AM

      I think Kurt actually did a good job reporting…..bad reporting.

  4. franchiseplaya - Jan 7, 2013 at 10:50 AM

    The Nets would have to put together a pretty attractive package for the Lakers to make a deal. As bad as the Lakers have been defensively with Dwight and his bad back, they would only get worse with Lopez in the middle.

    • dmitchell624 - Jan 7, 2013 at 11:00 AM

      Actually if Dwight is threatening to leave the leverage for the Lakers goes way down. It would be whatever they can get versus him leaving with nothing coming back. Dwight holds the cards. Of course Kurt “I hate the Brooklyn Nets” Helin will offer some half baked contrary opinion to that.

      • Mr. Wright 212 - Jan 7, 2013 at 11:29 AM

        You do realize that he hates the Lakers much more (not even sure where you get anyone hating the Nets other than us native New Yorkers who are Knicks fans and are just sick and tired of you idiots acting like media propaganda is going to change the reality that this is, has been and always will be Knicks territory).

      • blueintown - Jan 7, 2013 at 12:06 PM

        Yeah, Mitchell. Don’t you realize that Kurt Helin – native Angeleno and founder of Lakers fan blog Forum Blue and Gold – hates the Lakers?

      • deadeyedesign23 - Jan 7, 2013 at 12:51 PM

        Yo he does hate on the Nets hard as hell. Then again, if I’m to believe what he writes, he still thinks they play in New Jersey and that the small forward is Gerald Henderson.

  5. tigershark49 - Jan 7, 2013 at 10:53 AM

    @shockexchange you must have very few friends.

  6. Kevin S. - Jan 7, 2013 at 11:02 AM

    The Nets can’t sign-and-trade for Howard next summer, not with the new taxpayer rules coming into play. They’d have to do it at the deadline, and that would require the Lakers to not only be so bad that they can only blow it up, but also that dealing Dwight will be part of the blowup instead of convincing him to re-sign and promising him a new team around him in 2014. I just don’t see it.

    • badintent - Jan 7, 2013 at 1:14 PM

      we could imagine the Laker “braintrust” (an oxemoron) have a bad case of Danny A disease and blowing up the Lakers like the Cs did with Perkins 2 years a go. Never say never in the land of Billy King syndrome

  7. stadix093 - Jan 7, 2013 at 11:06 AM

    I just wish they’d join together and beat up Jim Buss for hiring MDA.

  8. isujames - Jan 7, 2013 at 11:10 AM

    Wow, I would love to see D. Howard whoop dat a$$, guess you laker fanatics know what all this means come next year and I knew all along that Howard and Kome couldn’t coexist.They should get rid of Kome!!

  9. bullsrgreat1 - Jan 7, 2013 at 11:17 AM

    this is what happens when you hire mike dantoni the most overrated coach in the nba

    • sasquash20 - Jan 7, 2013 at 12:12 PM

      As a Sixers fan I was pissed when the Knicks fired D’Antoni. The guy sucked and I figured the Knicks were a coach and PG away from being good.

  10. dannymac17 - Jan 7, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    the Lakers are a train wreck and im loving every second of it.

    • ron05342 - Jan 7, 2013 at 12:39 PM

      How frustrating it must be for you that Los Angeles has a title contender anyway?

      • dannymac17 - Jan 7, 2013 at 1:07 PM

        I am shell shocked.

        go clippers

  11. qwest12 - Jan 7, 2013 at 12:02 PM

    Howard is soft and is being a punk. He needs to “pull up his skirt” quit pouting and dominate like he can. If he doesn’t figure it out he won’t be back next year that’s for sure.

    • progress2011 - Jan 7, 2013 at 2:09 PM

      NEWSFLASH !!!

      D12 never wanted to play with kobe/ wanna-be-like-MJ/ Ball Hawk !!!

      So, your EPIPHANY that he won’t be back next year…will be a mutual decison.

      D12 has probably already purchased his special charter jet reservation….the day the playoffs start…cause the FAKERS WON”T MAKE THE PLAYOFFS …..ahahahahaha!

  12. 00maltliquor - Jan 7, 2013 at 12:03 PM

    I’d be pretty surprised if Dwight re-signs with the Lakers next year. Whether the fight happend or not I think he may have one foot out the door with all that’s gone on this season.

    @ THE shockexchange…was never really high on you until I read that response to zerole00. That was pretty funny! Keep doing you buddy. lol

    • loungefly74 - Jan 7, 2013 at 12:59 PM

      i think dwight will stay, malt. but the Lakers will transition (slowly) to make this Dwight’s team in the next couple years.

      agree about “shock” as well…

    • shockexchange - Jan 7, 2013 at 5:08 PM

      The Shock Exchange’s life has not been in vain, cause after all, he lives for your validation.

  13. dko83 - Jan 7, 2013 at 12:24 PM

    This can’t be true, Kobe is one of the easiest guys to get along with.

    • mazblast - Jan 7, 2013 at 5:19 PM

      Sarcasm is a great tool, used properly.

  14. scalfor3 - Jan 7, 2013 at 12:29 PM

    Kobe is getting more and more pissed and frustrated and whatever patience he had earlier is gone. When Kobe has gone too long without winning/getting what he wants he has thrown some pretty epic tantrums (think of the “ship his ass out” tirade about Bynum). I’ve got my popcorn ready.

  15. ron05342 - Jan 7, 2013 at 12:40 PM

    This story is pure b*sh*t. As Kurt said, there are numerous beat writers in the Laker locker room who would have reported this on the 1st. But six days later, now we hear about it?

    I wonder what kind of integrity any writer must have to report this crap without confirming their sources? What the hell is a “league source” anyway?

    • badintent - Jan 7, 2013 at 1:17 PM

      Stu Jackson when he has nothing to do. Which is 29 days a month .

    • opshuns - Jan 7, 2013 at 3:45 PM

      A LA reporter has to take in his access to the locker room…

  16. dysraw1 - Jan 7, 2013 at 12:41 PM

    the big fella is not happy and that is the one obvious thing here, Dick was never a low post type of coach the last big he really leaned on was David Lee

  17. rodyaugu - Jan 7, 2013 at 1:17 PM

    If this story is true, I can why howard went after kobe, Because dwight hates shaq after all the criticism shaq made about his game lol.

  18. addict2sport - Jan 7, 2013 at 1:39 PM

    shockexchange is by far my favorite character on all of these NBC Sports Talk boards. Keep ‘em coming!

  19. dabulls46 - Jan 7, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    This probably happened. Maybe not “blows” as all stories get exaggerated, but I’m sure some discussion or argument went on. Probably Kobe thinking he is Phil Jackson Jr trying to motivate Dwight

  20. itsthemelman82 - Jan 7, 2013 at 2:00 PM

    Well, Well, Well D12 is in LA and the Lakers are imploding (must suck if you’re a Laker fan) but this is exactly why I said again & again keep that guy away from the Bulls! Stars don’t equal championship without chemistry.

  21. byjiminy - Jan 7, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    I’m not following your logic, Kurt. What in your article supports your idea that a trade to the Nets could never happen? Why not? It’s probably BS that they almost fought, but they’re not exactly gelling. If the whole year stays like this, it wouldn’t be just Howard that was itching for a trade — Kobe and management would too. Why not a trade involving Howard for Lopez and friends? A trade wouldn’t make Howard look any worse than a season of losing.

  22. 1chilla - Jan 7, 2013 at 2:52 PM

    Im a magic fan im so happy to see the lakers struggles n it would be even more sweeter if they dont make playoffs wat ever u doing dwight keep on doing……lol

  23. openseason51 - Jan 7, 2013 at 2:52 PM

    Wrong coach. Front office screwed up. Age of the players and the weak bench makes for a long season when the new coach has them always running. They can’t get back on defense. A Phil Jackson offense keeps things in check. Last 2 championships for the Bulls the players were older and their talent fit his system.

    • bougin89 - Jan 7, 2013 at 4:33 PM

      The season before those last 2 championships the Bulls won 72 games and kept all the great players the next two seasons. Rodman, Pippen, and Jordan were getting older but they still had plenty more than needed to get the job done. Pippen and Jordan were still playing at MVP caliber levels and Rodman was still a great defensive player and rebounder. Plus they were a deep team with solid role players, something the Lakers do not have. You really can’t that Bulls team to this Lakers team.

  24. ebrownwareagle - Jan 7, 2013 at 3:23 PM

    @progress2011

    ??? Who do you cheer for?! You might not like Kobe, that’s your preference. But he has MORE RINGS than any superstar in this Generation. And to the wannabeMJ comment. If MJ was the Greatest Of All Times….. Then doesn’t it make since to want to be like the BEST or BEtter.. After All he could be like your Favorite player which is who knows; because they are probably a Career Losers… Meaning no rings certainly not more than Your Fake wannabe MJ with 5RINGS! Count em Up. Ijs

    • opshuns - Jan 7, 2013 at 3:50 PM

      It is nice that Kobe wants to be the best, but you don’t USE your team to accomplish it… The idea is to play for another championship instead of passing MJ in points….

  25. unxpexted1 - Jan 7, 2013 at 3:34 PM

    angry much?

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