May 21, 2013, 2:02 AM EDT
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.
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.
Jul 11, 2014, 5:27 PM EDT
Bosh would give up more than $35 million to leave Miami for Houston, but maybe LeBron James’ departure convinces him to do so
Jul 11, 2014, 5:21 PM EDT
Wade is from Chicago, so there may be a desire to return home — the same way it was with LeBron and the Cavaliers.
Jul 11, 2014, 4:47 PM EDT
LeBron needs to win in Cleveland (not this season, but eventually) to secure his legacy.
Jul 11, 2014, 4:46 PM EDT
Rockets need New Orleans to figure out how to get Asik before Chandler Parsons’ clock expires
Jul 11, 2014, 4:25 PM EDT
Both sides had some apologizing to do.
Deal set: Lakers trade for Jeremy Lin, which for L.A. is largely about draft pick (as is Gasol for Boozer idea)
Jul 11, 2014, 4:24 PM EDT
The Lakers lack draft picks — they traded them for Gasol and Nash — and are now making moves to acquire more.
Jul 11, 2014, 3:41 PM EDT
Lakers making moves that take them off the table, unless he wants less than the max.
Jul 11, 2014, 3:34 PM EDT
Steve Kerr wants to coach Warriors team as constructed
Jul 11, 2014, 3:02 PM EDT
Chris Bosh unscathed… for now
Report: With LeBron James heading to Cleveland, Kevin Love would commit to Cavaliers long term if traded there
Jul 11, 2014, 2:50 PM EDT
Will Cavaliers trade Andrew Wiggins?
Jul 11, 2014, 2:01 PM EDT
Dumping Lin is key step for Rockets getting Chris Bosh
Jul 11, 2014, 1:39 PM EDT
Gilbert could take a lesson just in case LeBron leaves Cleveland again
Jul 11, 2014, 1:34 PM EDT
The free agency flood gates are about to open.
Jul 11, 2014, 1:07 PM EDT
LeBron: ‘ I’ve made mistakes as well. Who am I to hold a grudge?’
Jul 11, 2014, 12:54 PM EDT
“My goal is still to win as many titles as possible, no question. But what’s most important for me is bringing one trophy back to Northeast Ohio.” —LeBron James
Jul 11, 2014, 12:20 PM EDT
LeBron leaving Heat after four seasons
Report: After cross-country plane flight with him, Dwyane Wade doesn’t know what LeBron James will do
Jul 11, 2014, 11:32 AM EDT
Another sign this could drag on a while longer.
Jul 11, 2014, 10:46 AM EDT
Landing Parsons would squeeze some of the money for other Dallas role players.
Jul 11, 2014, 9:15 AM EDT
Could such a leak be LeBron setting up a reason to reject Cavaliers and return to Heat?
Jul 11, 2014, 8:44 AM EDT
If Carmelo chooses New York or Chicago, the Lakers should wait for the next big star.
- Report: Heat offer Chris Bosh full max contract to keep him from Rockets 0
- PBT Extra: LeBron James returns to Cleveland to try and cement legacy 3
- Deal set: Lakers trade for Jeremy Lin, which for L.A. is largely about draft pick (as is Gasol for Boozer idea) 18
- Carmelo Anthony still not ready to decide, but he needs to soon as options dry up 38
- Report: With LeBron James heading to Cleveland, Kevin Love would commit to Cavaliers long term if traded there 57
- Report: Lakers finalizing trade for Rockets’ Jeremy Lin 66
- LeBron to Cleveland first domino, what’s next? Bosh to Rockets, and much more 63
- LeBron James in his own words on why he chose Cleveland 95