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Report: Dwight Howard told Lakers GM he was frustrated with D’Antoni

May 21, 2013, 2:02 AM EDT

Dwight Howard AP

From the start, there was one thing most likely to keep Mike D’Antoni from returning as Lakers coach — free agent Dwight Howard.

It may not have been that direct — and it may not change who is the Lakers coach next season — but apparently Howard let Lakers management know exactly how he feels about D’Antoni.

During the Lakers exit interview after they were eliminated by the Spurs, players met with Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak and D’Antoni, but then had the chance to speak to Kupchak without D’Antoni in the room.

Howard took full advantage of that, reports Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com.

According to sources with knowledge of the situation, part of the discussion between Howard and Kupchak centered around Howard’s frustration with D’Antoni — particularly how the center felt marginalized as the coach looked to Bryant and Steve for leadership and suggestions and discounted Howard’s voice….

D’Antoni chose not to retain assistant coach Chuck Person, a Howard confidant, on his staff for next season. Also, Lakers assistant coach Steve Clifford, who was with Howard in Orlando for five seasons before both of them came to L.A. last year, has become a hot head coaching candidate, interviewing with Milwaukee and receiving interest from Charlotte.

One source described the potential departure of Clifford, coupled with the loss of Person as “removing the buffers,” between Howard and D’Antoni, “which is a bad thing.”

If Howard is trying to dig out of the PR mess he created in Orlando and repair his image, this is not helping. At all. The leaks over the last week make him look petty and indecisive again. Also, if only Kupchak and Howard were in that meeting then the leak came from one of two sides here. You think it was the tight-lipped Kupchak?

When D’Antoni arrived to the Lakers he tried to fit the square pegs of the Lakers’ roster into the round holes of his offense. It didn’t work and it wasn’t pretty. The Lakers didn’t defend well for him, either, and they struggled. But by the end of the season the Lakers had moved away from what D’Antoni prefers to more traditional NBA sets. The Lakers also became more dependent on Kobe as the defacto point guard running the offense.

Is there enough frustration there for Howard to turn down $30.4 million more guaranteed? The Lakers can offer one more guaranteed year and slightly larger raises than other teams which all adds up to that sum (how much that extra guaranteed year matters to Howard only he can answer). Howard is reportedly intrigued by the Rockets and Mavericks — two teams in Texas where there is no state income tax. That can make up some of the money but Los Angeles presents more endorsement opportunities.

But is it all about money for Howard? Or was his frustration with D’Antoni, Kobe Bryant and the entire year in Los Angeles have him thinking Houston looks pretty good.

Smart money still is on Howard re-signing with the Lakers. But it is no lock.

  1. 23chameleons - May 21, 2013 at 9:10 AM

    LA may provide more endorsement opportunities but those things happen anywhere and anytime you’re a consistent winner. Peyton Manning was playing in the small, small market of Indy. His massive forehead has been on everything.

  2. wsuperman4445 - May 21, 2013 at 9:56 AM

    comment to truth plain and etc.. etc.. I also have to agree with you I am a Magic fan that Dwight trashed on his way to the Lakers, so I don’t have much love for him either but, if Dwight where speaking to the GM supposedly alone then he is free to give his opinion and not see it Televised the next day on TV and online if Kupchak had Dwight’s interest in mind and not just what he supposed to say to keep a allstar we would not have heard of Dwights Opinion of the current coach but my guess is both the GM and Coach don’t really like Dwight though they both know what is needed to keep the Franchise in General relevant or else their own jobs will be in trouble. if I were Dwight I would consider the Clippers as you have chris Paul and support and of course you are still in LA or of course the Texas teams but I would not stay with the lakers because Kobe with not be back next year Pau is gone Metta is gone and you will find your self on a team that is rebuilding but its just that no one told you. you are there just to fill the seats while they rebuild if that is the case he could have stayed in Orlando for that matter..

  3. fruitcovejag - May 21, 2013 at 10:01 AM

    Coach killer!

  4. zacksdad - May 21, 2013 at 10:23 AM

    So Howard does not like, Kobe does not like him, the fans do not like like, Jeanie Buss does not like him, Magic does not like him. The only person that seems to like him is Jimmie Buss. Since he writes the paychecks, looks like we are stuck with him. Took Jerry Buss decades to build the Lakers legacy. Jimmie is destroying in a couple of years. This apple fell far from it’s tree.

  5. brianjoates - May 21, 2013 at 10:37 AM

    Is he really worth the money? He is a 6’10 center who is injury prone, he is not getting younger, and he has shown he is not about the team. He is an awful free throw shooter, he tends to get bullied on the blocks by tough guys. This guy is not a leader of men, and is he really a piece to a championship puzzle with all of the distractions he would bring to a team? Sure , any fan base will embrace him if he signs there, but his act does get old quickly. His act just seems fake at this point.

  6. dsharpe8 - May 21, 2013 at 10:38 AM

    Dwight Howard has no heart and he’s a big goofy, after a report like this he’ll never be able to repair his image because he keeps complaining about everything. For him to get mad about not being deferred to as a leader I don’t blame the coach because everybody in the universe knows this cry baby isn’t a leader. If anything this dude is really a coach killer, how can you run an offense thru someone who has no post game whatsoever. I’m glad my Bulls don’t want this chump especially how he hated on R. Rose saying it wouldn’t work in Chicago because Dwight wants to be the man so bad.

  7. loungefly74 - May 21, 2013 at 11:46 AM

    oh howard….please…read a book…something…(smacks forehead)

  8. topdawg4ever - May 21, 2013 at 12:06 PM

    Duhwhight strikes again! It was only a matter of time before the rumors and “leaks” started with this airhead. Does he really think that saying stuff about the coach will help his Coach Killer image? That somehow whining about not being deferred to or having his crew surround him is a good move?

    Geez Duhwhight I knew you weren’t that bright but this move makes you look stupid AND clueless.

  9. 00maltliquor - May 21, 2013 at 2:01 PM

    Koach Killa!!!

    This one I don’t mind though! C’mon Dwight, you the judge, we the jury, force Mitch and Jimmy to be the executioners and off with D’Antoni’s head!

  10. florida727 - May 21, 2013 at 2:04 PM

    Report: Dwight Howard told Lakers GM he was frustrated with D’Antoni

    In a related report: every Laker fan thinks Dwight Howard is a cancer and belongs on another team

    And in yet another related report: countless Orlando fans confirm the prior related report

  11. frankiebooboo - May 21, 2013 at 3:55 PM

    Everyone, and I mean everyone complained about d’antoni this season. Why is it such a BFD that Howard did the same behind closed doors. I get the whole coach killer thing, but to elicit so many negative responses… Bigger deal if it was a better coach or even a mediocre coach. But d’antoni did in fact stink it up.

    • navondusandau - May 21, 2013 at 5:58 PM

      Dwight has become a bit of an expert at digging PR holes for himself. It must be hilarious being his agent!

  12. fearthehoody - May 21, 2013 at 5:27 PM

    Whaaaaaaaaa!

    -Dwight Howard

  13. patfic15 - May 21, 2013 at 6:37 PM

    You know Lebron has to love this. For awhile he was the least liked player.

  14. progress2011 - May 21, 2013 at 10:17 PM

    I find it comical you won’t post my comments…..ahahahahah !

    1. I bring strong facts that typically refute your terrible assessments
    2. I create good conversation topics
    3. I usually am pointing out facts as to why the lakers are OVER-RATED

    You not posting my individual comments certifies your TERRIBLE “JOURNALISM”……

    What a joke……ahahahahaha

    • Kurt Helin - May 26, 2013 at 10:08 PM

      After previous offensive comments all your comments need to be approved. There are a number of people like that on this site. Sometimes it takes a while, there are a lot of comments. As for you content, you vastly overestimate how much any of us care.

      • spthegr8 - May 27, 2013 at 6:43 PM

        LMAO!!!! Nice ZING @ the end Kurt!!

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