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Dwight Howard asked Lakers to hire Phil Jackson

Jul 6, 2013, 8:00 AM EDT

Memorial Service For Los Angeles Lakers Owner Dr. Jerry Buss Getty Images

Dwight Howard reportedly wanted the Lakers to hire Phil Jackson after they fired Mike Brown early last season.

Jim Buss obviously didn’t acquiesce Howard’s request — he has wanted to put his own stamp on this organization, not give more power to his sister Jeanie — so the Lakers got swept in the first round and Howard left in free agency for the Rockets. Could this all have gone differently if Los Angeles had hired Jackson rather than Mike D’Antoni?

Howard in a Q&A with Alex Kennedy of Hoops World:

If Phil Jackson had been more involved with the Lakers or coaching the team, would that have affected your decision?

DH: “Well, I asked to have him as my coach earlier in the year. (pause) The best decision for me was to do what’s best for Dwight. I think this is the best thing for me. This wasn’t a decision about anybody else. I didn’t have anybody pushing me to do anything. This is what Dwight wanted.”

Putting aside Dwight referring to himself in the third person – that was an unfortunate blunder in an otherwise respectable interview you should read in full – it’s nice to see Howard discuss his coaching preferences on the record and with sincerity. The Stan Van Gundy mess in Orlando got ugly, and Howard deserved criticism for how he handled it.

But it appears Howard has grown from that experience.

I don’t think Howard would have returned to Los Angeles solely to play for Jackson, but he might have returned to a team with more cohesion, with a more enjoyable atmosphere, with a better chance of winning next season. Perhaps, Jacksons would have helped mold the Lakers into that team.

But Buss wanted to put his mark on the franchise, so he hired D’Antoni instead. Now with Howard headed to Houston, Buss will have even more of a blank canvass to make his mark.

  1. dsharpe8 - Jul 6, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    Kobe should take some of the blame due to his ego, but Dwight Howard is still a fraud in my book. This dude is trouble and he’s not who he claims to be. This dude is the second reincarnation of Shawn Kemp, ask him how many baby moms he got, and watch what he tells you. It’s very strange for a very wealthy pro athlete to have all these children all by different women and he only publicly acknowledges one and that’s dude to a lawsuit. I bet James Harden will want to get traded after two years playing with this chump. He’s far from a clutch player, and I definitely wouldn’t run my offense thru him. That’s just my own opinion.

  2. Anoesis - Jul 6, 2013 at 9:47 PM

    Dwight apparently missed what all the commenters on here have missed: Jackson wanted more than Laker management was willing to give. Dr. Buss never thought a coach should make a ton of money. He had to be talked into hiring Jackson the first time (and the second).

    When Jackson floated the idea of no longer traveling with the team he pretty much sealed his own fate. What kind of coach only coaches home games?

    Jackson in charge of basketball operations, while leaving Kupchak as the GM, would have made sense, but when Dr. Buss died and left the team to Jim-boy there was no chance in hell of that happening. Jim-boy tried to make it look like he offered the job to Jackson, but that was a ploy to placate fans. Just the first mis-step in an ongoing series of them.

    Hiring Mike Brown was also a mistake, trading for Nash was a mistake, trading for Howard was a mistake, hiring D’Antoni was a mistake. Hey, give Jim-boy credit, he’s batting 1.000.

    • badintent - Jul 7, 2013 at 1:45 AM

      yeah, Jimmy is the second coming of I. Thomas.Lakers have no clue have much trouble they are in for the next 2 years in the super strong west.

      • redbaronx - Jul 7, 2013 at 1:01 PM

        @badintent – I think it’s too early to compare “Junior” Buss to Isaiah Thomas. Particularly since Mitch is still GM and Jimmy is not.

        With that being said, from a standpoint of being a bonehead with stupid comments that rub people the wrong way, and wanting to ‘put his stamp’ on the team instead of keeping things stable (like San Antonio…) Jimmy is proving he’s not smart enough to let the experts (Mitch) do their job. They should have kept the philosophy (triangle…Brian Shaw and co.) in place and built the team around Howard.

        While I’m not a fan of how Howard has conducted himself, he just may have made the smart move to Houston. Houston has been quietly building a strong organization ala Indiana and the Spurs. I wouldn’t be surprised if they become championship caliber in the next two years.

      • badintent - Jul 7, 2013 at 10:50 PM

        Good points. I had the sorry experience of Herr George Steinbreiner firing managers around the clock, along with good GMs getting canned for falling to kissass.He screwed up the Yankees for too long before Munson and and Co. were able to turn it all around.

    • doughnut70 - Jul 9, 2013 at 4:41 AM

      Whatever the reason Phil isn’t the coach, it should have been clear long before Dwight arrived in town, that it wasn’t ever going to happen. If Dwight had a name he suggested that wasn’t Phil, I would believe him, but this sounds more like stirring the pot because he knows the more ignorant fans still wish Phil or one of his protégé’s was coaching. Can’t blame them, but it will never happen.. If you read the tabloids, Jerry Buss didn’t want Phil last time, but was talked into it for business reasons, so there was no reason to think he would want him now that things are looking up financially for the Buss family. There are a lot of rumors as to why they don’t want him to coach, but they have made it clear they don’t, so for someone like Howard to say they wanted Jackson to coach is just a punk way of causing trouble. If he really had a problem with D’Antoni, he should have suggested an alternative that might have been acceptable to the Laker owners. But he didn’t have any real complaints. He was just unhappy with losing, so he is lashing out.

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