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

Jan 7, 2013, 12:56 PM EDT

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. themagicfanguy - Jan 7, 2013 at 3:35 PM

    @wareagle Rings don’t increase individual greatness in a TEAM sport, its the most ignorant argument ever. Is Bill Russell the greatest player ever? No. The surrounding TEAM has to be taken into account. Kobe is a great HoF player, but would he have 5 rings without Shaq or Gasol? No.

    • Foul Dwimmerlaik - Jan 8, 2013 at 3:23 AM

      Actually it does increase individual greatness: IF one is a SIGNIFICANT and INTEGRAL member of the team.

      Look at those 5 teams of those 5 rings. What’s the common denominator? Jackson, Kobe, and Fisher.

      Give me one ringless HoFer who is considered far greater a player than Kobe.

  2. pricejustin24 - Jan 7, 2013 at 3:49 PM

    Blue and gold is the worst “fan” forum ever. Not even laker colors. Kurt Helin should be shot

  3. drewzducks - Jan 7, 2013 at 4:37 PM

    Unless Howard’s a woman I’m taking DW in this matchup.

  4. somekat - Jan 7, 2013 at 4:40 PM

    lol, a sign and trade for lopez. Any GM on a team that isn’t in the basement would rather have the cap space than his contract. Let along as a centerpiece for a Howard sign and trade

  5. mazblast - Jan 7, 2013 at 5:27 PM

    As much as I loathe Kobe and the Lakers, and as much as I’d like to believe this happened, I don’t believe it at all.

    –No beat reporter said anything. Do you think any one of them would miss a chance to be “FIRST!!!”
    –No other reporter said anything. Do you think any one of them would miss a chance to be “FIRST!!!”
    –No player, coach, or even clubhouse attendant said anything. Do you think that many people could be there and no one would say anything to anyone? Seriously?
    –Kobe would never say anything like that to anyone’s face, or when they were in the same room. He knows he’d get his face mashed in. He’s not man enough to square off against another big man, or probably another man, period.
    –Kobe would say something oblique to a reporter if he wanted to say something. He likes plausible deniability, like so many people that won’t face the person they’re trying to undermine.

  6. omniusprime - Jan 8, 2013 at 8:58 AM

    This is all Dumbtoni’s fault for being such a pathetic excuse of an NBA coach. Dumbtoni has proven he is not up to the job of coaching such a fine collection of superstars. Dumbtoni is ensuring that Kobe and Dwight are squabbling by making sure they don’t have a winning game plan.

    It’s past time for the sports pundits to point the finger of blame at the real culprit, that little idiot buss boy and Kupcake. What a stupid idea to bring in Ancient Nash when they got rid of Fisher because he was too slow to defend the great young point guards. At least Fisher played defense, Nash doesn’t even bother. With Dumbtoni moving Kobe to small forward he is guaranteeing the destruction of the Lakers.

    Fire Dumbtoni!!! We Want Phil!!! Dump Nash!!! Go Kobe!!! Go Howard!!!

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