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Steve Nash says what we all knew, that Dwight Howard didn’t want to be with the Lakers

Jul 9, 2013, 11:39 PM EST

Lakers' Howard and Nash walk up the floor during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Pacers in Indianapolis

As became evident by the fact that Dwight Howard chose to sign with the Houston Rockets in free agency, he simply didn’t want to play in Los Angeles for the Lakers.

This was true even last season, however, while Howard was still on the team and was theoretically trying to make the best of a situation where he wasn’t a fit from either a personality or a positional standpoint.

Whether or not Howard truly gave it his all in terms of trying to do what was asked of him in Mike D’Antoni’s system, if only for a season, is debatable at best. One of Howard’s All-Star teammates, Steve Nash, said as much during a radio interview that aired in Los Angeles on Tuesday.

From Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles:

“Ultimately, I think Dwight wasn’t comfortable here and didn’t want to be here and I think if he didn’t want to be here, there’s no point for anyone in him being here,” Nash told “The Mason & Ireland Show” on ESPN LA 710 radio on Tuesday. “So, we wish him the best and move on.”

“Dwight had some issues with the season,” Nash said. “I think it kind of basically goes with what he said to the media that he never quite felt embraced in L.A. He never quite felt supported. That’s basically it. I think in some ways you can read into that what you will, but I think he never quite felt comfortable at home and I don’t know if that’s anybody’s fault.”

However, Nash said that X’s and O’s played just as big a part with Howard as health did.

“He didn’t seem like he really wanted to do a pick-and-roll offense, maybe because he had run one in Orlando for so long and he wanted to get in the post more,” Nash said.

It’s not like we needed confirmation that Howard never fully bought in to the Lakers last season, because his actions on the court and comments off of it during the campaign told us as much — but there it is.

Once Howard became a free agent, he was obviously entitled to do whatever his heart desired in choosing his new destination. But constantly putting up a fight with his current team (even passively) was not a great look, and the reality is that the Lakers should be relieved that Howard didn’t take them up on their five-year offer of a max contract.

Because Howard and the Lakers (at least as constructed) were never anywhere close to being a comfortable match.

  1. gbsfinest420 - Jul 9, 2013 at 11:46 PM

    He didnt want to play with kobe….

    • 00maltliquor - Jul 10, 2013 at 12:44 AM

      Honestly, it’s not just Kobe. It was probably the whole team. Kobe and Co. are all men of a certain age. He probably had a hard time connecting with them. He was all goof and smiles while the rest or ‘em were more into being serious and locked in.

      He left for H-Town ’cause that’s a very young team with a lot of promise (not to mention a real coach). There are young people there to connect with and be “cool” with. Kobe staying another 2-3 years, with ‘Antoni in play was just too much time in his young life to waste, I’m guessing.

      • davidly - Jul 10, 2013 at 8:16 AM

        I’m ‘onna call BS on this one. Because first of all, they never got around to running the offense Nash says Howard didn’t want to be a part of. If he were honest, he’d admit that his own skills are not being utilized on a team with a swing-man who handles the ball more than he does.

        Nothing against Bryant, who’s an all-time great, but Winter & Jackson ran the best offense for him, because the triangle distributes the ball-handling duties.

        But now they got a true point guard for the first time in KB’s career. Think about that. Until the aging elite point guard can do his thing without the slightest hint of deference, this team may as well start Jordan Farmar next year.

        Why would Howard want to hang around while they try to order that mess, only to be the “future of the franchise” beginning at thirty?

      • davidly - Jul 10, 2013 at 8:19 AM

        @ 00maltliquor: I wasn’t aiming my “BS comment” at you, but Nash.

        I was going to tell you good comment and then changed my mind to make one of my own; I deliberately refreshed the page and opened a comment window at the bottom, to no avail.

        Anyway, your comment is on the money.

  2. Sideline Mob - Jul 9, 2013 at 11:50 PM

    So all the sudden, Steve Nash (who swore his whole career he would never play for the Lakers, then bolted to LA the first chance he got in free agency) is now the authority on what it takes to “be a Laker”.

    This will get voted down, because Nash is an irrationally popular player, but come on. Nash is the last guy that should be speaking for Laker Nation.

    • casualcommenter - Jul 9, 2013 at 11:55 PM

      ….No, Nash is saying Dwight Howard didn’t want to be there.

      He didn’t say Howard lacked “heart,” “toughness,” “resolve,” “the ability to handle the bright lights,” etc. He made no mention of Howard “not having what it takes to be a Laker.”

      He just said, “Howard didn’t feel embraced by the city, and Howard didn’t enjoy being on the team, so Howard left, which makes sense.”

      Try reading the article next time.

      • Sideline Mob - Jul 9, 2013 at 11:57 PM

        We read the article. And last time we checked, wouldn’t saying all those things amount to saying “real Lakers have those qualities and Dwight doesn’t”?

        Next time, try formulating a real opinion, instead of one that’s blindly angry just for the sake of getting voted up.

      • smoothaswilkes - Jul 10, 2013 at 12:19 AM

        @ Sideline Mob

        “We read the article. And last time we checked…”

        Apparently both of you could work on your reading comprehension skills. I won’t rehash what has already been explained to you, but when you say “We read the article.” do you mean your mommy read the post to you? Tell her to explain it a little better next time.

      • asimonetti88 - Jul 10, 2013 at 12:34 AM

        You’re reading into it way too far. He said Dwight didn’t like LA and he didn’t feel at home there. That’s it. You’re just reading it that way because that’s what you want it to read as.

    • Sideline Mob - Jul 10, 2013 at 12:57 AM

      Aww @smoothaswilkes, mommy jokes. Pure class. We bow to your superior intellect, good sir.

    • adoombray - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:08 AM

      This is absolutely true. It’s not just his whole career that it happened, it was all of a week before he went to Sarver and begged for a sign and trade so “he could be close to his kids”….. and then he sued his wife to prevent her from moving to LA because he was afraid that she might be able to take him to court for a few extra bucks in child support. Nasty, nasty situation there, and I don’t judge, but if we get to talk about Bynum and Howard’s attitudes, it’s fair game for Nash too. It doesn’t get talked about a lot but many of us here in Phoenix won’t forget how badly he handled his exit. Guys like Thunder Dan, Tom Chambers, Connie Hawkins, Kevin Johnson, these guys will never pay for a drink or a meal in this town ever again. Steve Nash will not be treated like those guys.

    • 00maltliquor - Jul 10, 2013 at 12:33 PM

      LOOOL @ Sideline Mob being 2 or more people! :-D

    • 3xchamps - Jul 10, 2013 at 12:47 PM

      first, Nash didnt bolt to the lakers he was traded for draft picks. second, hes not speaking for laker nation hes speaking for his team which knows howard didnt put his heart into being in LA.

    • fpstratton - Jul 10, 2013 at 2:41 PM

      Sideline Mob: I understand your point, but I think Nash, at least, tried to fit into the team and offense. He had injury issues last year which may never be truly resolved and is getting on in years, but he at least had a positive attitude. He is merely saying that Howard really didn’t want to be there, and I agree with him.

  3. casualcommenter - Jul 9, 2013 at 11:52 PM

    The real shame is that the stats show that Dwight Howard is devastatingly effective in the pick-and-roll as the roll-man due to his combination of length, speed, and leaping ability, while he’s only a little above average in the post.

    Last season, he had just joined a team with one of the greatest pick-and-roll ballhandlers in NBA history (Steve Nash), yet as Nash notes, Howard actively opposed attempts to get him to participate in a lot of pick-and-rolls.

    Harden is a very good pick-and-roll ballhandler, who developed a nice two-man game with Nick Collison back in OKC. I’d HOPE Howard is more willing to do pick-and-rolls in Houston than he was in LA, since Harden made Collison into a viable scoring threat, so imagine the damage Harden could do with Dwight as the roll-man.

    • borderline1988 - Jul 10, 2013 at 11:09 AM

      There’s a big difference between Houston and LAL…I think Dwight likes to mix it up. He’s happy to run pick and rolls, but also wants the ball in the post in order to initiate offense.

      In LA, Kobe takes the majority of the isos. When Kobe doesn’t have the ball, the Lakers needed to get Nash and Gasol in the mix, which basically meant that Dwight wasn’t even close to the focal point of the offense.
      In LA, Dwight was basically told that he needs to single-handedly defend the entire opposing team (while his guards did nothing) and on offense, run a few pick and rolls every second possession when the ball is in Nash’s or Kobe’s hand.

      Houston will be a very different because the Rockets need a post presence who can score. And James Harden is way easier to work with than Kobe Bryant. As long as he’s healthy, Howard should be able to flourish.

      • fpstratton - Jul 10, 2013 at 2:46 PM

        borderline: What you say makes sense, but I have never been impressed with Howard’s offensive repertoire. In Orlando, he got to the finals because he was surrounded by excellent role players and people who could really shoot, such as Turkoglu. People shouldn’t try to overly rationalize that Howard didn’t play well in Los Angeles because of the offensive philosophy, bright lights of L.A., or different level of focus on the part of his teammates. Dwight Howard has never proven to me that he can be a champion.

      • borderline1988 - Jul 10, 2013 at 3:19 PM

        “In Orlando, he got to the finals because he was surrounded by excellent role players and people who could really shoot”

        You could say the same thing about Lebron James, Dirk Nowitzki, Shaq, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, etc. Most big men need exactly that…terrific distance shooting around them and a host of role players who are willing to let the big men get involved.

        The 2012/2013 Lakers team is anything but that. Sure, they won in 2009 and 2010 without superior 3pt shooting (they won with an incredible frontcourt rotation and Kobe Bryant). But that’s more of an anamoly.
        The 12/13 Lakers team had poor ball movement which meant relatively poor 3pt shooting.

        I agree that Dwight Howard is not as coordinated offensively as other big men (like Duncan and Garnett). But he is good enough to score consistently in the post one-on-one, when he gets the ball in a good position. And he’s a decent enough passer to find open shooters.

  4. billsfanaddict - Jul 10, 2013 at 12:05 AM

    i wanted to say something witty, but all i could keep coming up with is that d12 is a choke-at-life-artist bum w/too much talent to fail early but not enough composure to win it all

  5. losanginsight - Jul 10, 2013 at 12:21 AM

    He will never work in this town again.

  6. Sports King of this world - Jul 10, 2013 at 12:49 AM

    Look they didn’t like Dwight and it difficult for him. So he left.

    • emosnar - Jul 10, 2013 at 9:21 AM

      Its more than that but you are right. The Lakers really didnt like Dwight as long as Kobe was an option. Howard per Nash wanted to be featured in the post more. Well, the Lakers must feel his post game was not good enough. Thats evident by the Lakers confidence in MDA and Nash and keeping him on board despite Howards issues with it. If Phil was the coach he honestly would believe the same thing. He would run his triangle and feature Howard in the post but not dominantly like he featured Shaq (with a young Kobe). Like Phil said in his tweet, it was about the future and (to save face for losing Bynum for nothing). But Howard is not franchise enough on the offensive side of the ball to get what he wanted in LA because no one believes in it. But they were willing to give him the max because they know what he brings on the defensive side of the ball and wasnt going to be as lazy or as (initially) uncoachable as Bynum. Plus his personality fit the LA market and would truly have made LA contenders in the west until Kobe retired. They also didnt want to give the max to someone with knee issues (Bynum). Houston is gonna try to make Howard into Olajuwon but its gonna peter out truthfully in the end. I see a Howard and Harden beef in year two with Howard using his opt out clause. Houston still needs another star. But for LA they are still cleaning up young Jimmy Buss’s mess. Kupchak and Phil are trying to salvage what they can. Too bad they didnt keep Earl Clark. I think with Kaman, with Clark, Odom, and maybe a young scorer off the bench this season they may have a chance with a Kobe back at full strength. But I think they will give it a try but Kobe will make hi final push after this year.

      Watch the Lakers target Lance Stephenson and make him a star.

      • 3xchamps - Jul 10, 2013 at 12:51 PM

        Stephenson will never come even close to being a star. Too out of control and immature.

  7. michaelscarn25 - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:04 AM

    Of course he didn’t want to be with the Lakers. In the words of Stan Van Gundy, Dwight simply wanted somewhere where he could “be the highest paid player, on a championship caliber team, being the first option offensively, in a big market, with no pressure, with no responsibility, and with no coaches or teammates prodding him”.

  8. elcapitanfiscal - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:41 AM

    Damn Dwight is getting so much crap from everyone..

    Let’s see if he can handle it and step up his game or will he crumble

  9. cardinal11 - Jul 10, 2013 at 2:08 AM

    @ sideline mob

    not sure where you got the idea that Nash said he would never play for the Lakers. He is not that type of player. If you knew anything about Nash you would know he always takes the high road and even in this article he never dogs D12. Class act. Wish I could say the same about the you.

  10. cardinal11 - Jul 10, 2013 at 2:09 AM

    sideline mob

    not sure where you got the idea that Nash said he would never play for the Lakers. He is not that type of player. If you knew anything about Nash you would know he always takes the high road and even in this article he never dogs D12. Class act. Wish I could say the same about the you.

  11. ji8888 - Jul 10, 2013 at 3:00 AM

    Seeing Dwight leave bad tastes in already 2 franchises will be bad for him in the long run.

  12. Foul Dwimmerlaik - Jul 10, 2013 at 3:56 AM

    What D12 probably doesn’t realize is that now that HE CHOSE to join Houston, he should own up any eventual meltdown with the Rockets should it occur. For the sake of his new team, hopefully not.

  13. sportfan2 - Jul 10, 2013 at 7:07 AM

    Hell! from what I saw I’m not so sure Nash wants to be a Laker as well.

  14. drago2012 - Jul 10, 2013 at 8:04 AM

    Dwight has all the physical skills and talent to play basketball, but he is not a WINNER!!!! He has no heart of a true champion. He will be known as 3/4 basketball player due to his inability to shoot FREE throws. Games and championships are won and lost in the last 3 minutes of the game!!!

  15. davidly - Jul 10, 2013 at 8:20 AM

    I’m ‘onna call BS on this one. Because first of all, they never got around to running the offense Nash says Howard didn’t want to be a part of. If he were honest, he’d admit that his own skills are not being utilized on a team with a swing-man who handles the ball more than he does.

    Nothing against Bryant, who’s an all-time great, but Winter & Jackson ran the best offense for him, because the triangle distributes the ball-handling duties.

    But now they got a true point guard for the first time in KB’s career. Think about that. Until the aging elite point guard can do his thing without the slightest hint of deference, this team may as well start Jordan Farmar next year.

    Why would Howard want to hang around while they try to order that mess, only to be the “future of the franchise” beginning at thirty?

  16. The BIG Yuup - Jul 10, 2013 at 8:41 AM

    Dwight will be outta houston in three years when he can opt out.

  17. misterziggles - Jul 10, 2013 at 8:53 AM

    The whole failure of this is on Jim Buss and the hiring of D’Antoni. You cannot convince me otherwise.

    • emosnar - Jul 10, 2013 at 9:26 AM

      Its more than that but you are right. The Lakers really didnt like Dwight as long as Kobe was an option. Howard per Nash wanted to be featured in the post more. Well, the Lakers must feel his post game was not good enough. Thats evident by the Lakers confidence in MDA and Nash and keeping him on board despite Howards issues with it. If Phil was the coach he honestly would believe the same thing. He would run his triangle and feature Howard in the post but not dominantly like he featured Shaq (with a young Kobe). Like Phil said in his tweet, it was about the future and (to save face for losing Bynum for nothing). But Howard is not franchise enough on the offensive side of the ball to get what he wanted in LA because no one believes in it. But they were willing to give him the max because they know what he brings on the defensive side of the ball and wasnt going to be as lazy or as (initially) uncoachable as Bynum. Plus his personality fit the LA market and would truly have made LA contenders in the west until Kobe retired. They also didnt want to give the max to someone with knee issues (Bynum). Houston is gonna try to make Howard into Olajuwon but its gonna peter out truthfully in the end. I see a Howard and Harden beef in year two with Howard using his opt out clause. Houston still needs another star. But for LA they are still cleaning up young Jimmy Buss’s mess. Kupchak and Phil are trying to salvage what they can. Too bad they didnt keep Earl Clark. I think with Kaman, with Clark, Odom, and maybe a young scorer off the bench this season they may have a chance with a Kobe back at full strength. But I think they will give it a try but Kobe will make hi final push after this year.

      Watch the Lakers target Lance Stephenson and make him a star.

      • unxpexted1 - Jul 10, 2013 at 10:00 AM

        dang son did you really copy and paste this again. i didnt want to respond the first time. but after ALL of that, you conclude the Lakers are going to try to make Lance Stephenson a star, why in the metta World peace would we do that.

      • 3xchamps - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:10 PM

        Stephenson will never ever come close to being a star. Hes too out of control on the court and immature. Hes shot 36% fg and avg. 8.8 pts (wow) against the heat and only really got big minutes against them because coach had no one else on the bench to go to. look at the list
        sam young
        gerald green
        ben hansbrough
        jeff pendergraph
        miles plumlee
        orlando johnson

    • xonxrocket - Jul 10, 2013 at 9:26 AM

      Ok then.

      • emosnar - Jul 10, 2013 at 5:05 PM

        Lance is 22 years old. If you think a hand pick Larry Bird player only started in the ECF because there were no other options your are a flaming hot cheetoe. If lakers are smart they will quit talking about this supposedly big names like Melo, or Howard and focus on the young up and comers. By the way should’ve kept Earl Clark) They really need to get MDA out of town cause he does not develop players. Maybe after Nash is gone. Lakers would be smart to grab this dude in his prime. Hes only getting paid 600K right now and already has playoff moxy. From NY and wont cower to the media or fans. You are crazy to doubt or know Sir Lance-lot. Of you are a Laker fan you should be kissing my ass for this advice. And dont try to get Paul George cause Pacers arent having none of it. Mitch K. get to work!

      • emosnar - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:24 PM

        Good. Your observant and close minded at the same time. . . golf clap. LET THE LANCE AND MELO ERA BEGIN!!! NY TO LA BABAY!!!!

  18. houstonambassador - Jul 10, 2013 at 9:18 AM

    It’s funny how all fingers point to Howard but the Lakers get a pass because of their past. The Lakers aren’t the same organization they used to be and it’s only getting worst. Won’t be any rings coming that way for along time. Howard made a smart move. It takes heart to do what you want to do and disregard what everyone else will think or say. I respect that Htown stand up.

  19. lastdukestreetking - Jul 10, 2013 at 9:26 AM

    Howard never wanted to go to LA when he was trying to leave Orl. He made nice publicly when he was traded there. He did play hard considering he was coming off back surgery and also had the shoulder injury in season. He played much better in the 2nd half when healthy as they made their push to get in the playoffs. He doesn’t owe anything more to them.

    • fpstratton - Jul 10, 2013 at 2:49 PM

      And thank goodness for that. It just didn’t work out. That is why I couldn’t believe the media-driven hysteria surrounding “Who’s going to get Dwight Howard” in the summer of 2012. The emperor definitely has no clothes.

  20. dezglobal - Jul 10, 2013 at 9:52 AM

    Im so sick of hearing about Howard.

  21. fordmandalay - Jul 10, 2013 at 11:54 AM

    So how long will it take for Big Baby Dwight to be unhappy in Houston, start to pout and begin dogging it, then start planning to leave for his NEXT team? History shows about 2 months into the season, if not sooner. Lakers should count themselves lucky they cut loose from this overrated clown before they got in deep with him.

  22. jimeejohnson - Jul 10, 2013 at 12:10 PM

    “Before he was drafted in 2004, Howard said that he wanted to use his NBA career and Christian faith to “raise the name of God within the league and throughout the world”. (Wikipedia)

    Howard doesn’t belong in the most hedonistic place in the world: L.A.
    Houston, and Texas, with its evangelical right wing, is the perfect place for Howard.
    L.A. must’ve seemed like Hell on Earth to Dwight.

    • unxpexted1 - Jul 10, 2013 at 3:17 PM

      yea he was supposed to be like Tebow. I remember watching an interview with him before he was drafted how he wanted to change the NBA logo from the Jerry West symbol and put a cross on it instead. The NBA lifestyle, money and fame is gonna catch up to you, no matter what city you are in. Hard to stay grounded in that type of environement.

      • emosnar - Jul 10, 2013 at 9:59 PM

        You cant be serious… wanted to change the symbol? See, you have to be careful not to follow or be fans of freaks like Howard or your sports commentary will be skewed and wretched. End up in oblivion like John Rocker fans.

    • really2011 - Jul 10, 2013 at 3:59 PM

      And then he made a million babies out of wedlock! Not sure that L.A. was a bad place for the post 2004 version of Dwight.

    • Anoesis - Jul 10, 2013 at 6:07 PM

      Some Christian: Accepts a trade to a team he doesn’t want to play for just to get out of Orlando a year early. Wants to change his image as a self-centered jerk in Orlando by acting like a self-centered jerk in L.A. Yeah, that “hedonistic place” was obviously the problem for a guy who thinks nothing of having children out of wedlock and lying to two different organizations. Good luck, Houston.

  23. thekingdave - Jul 10, 2013 at 12:14 PM

    @emosnar

    So the Lakers sorta wanted D12 but not really? Nevermind the max contract offer. Or the banners around LA, or tweets from Phil Jackson. Or the willingness to pay tens of millions of dollars in luxury tax again. Ok. Nice revisionist history.

    • fpstratton - Jul 10, 2013 at 2:52 PM

      thekingdave: Agreed 110%! If the Lakers had done nothing last summer and kept Mike Brown, they would have been a 50-win team. Yes, even with a dysfunctional Andrew Bynum. At least, he showed up sometimes and fit better in Brown’s system. In fact, if the Lakers had kept Lamar Odom, the Gasol-Bynum-Odom front line would be better than what they’ve got now.

      • ludachrisgsx - Jul 10, 2013 at 4:56 PM

        Except for the tiny detail of Bynum not playing last season, or the idea that he might not play much ever again given his knees. So it would have been Gasol by himself last season, and even he was out quite a few games.

  24. azarkhan - Jul 10, 2013 at 12:54 PM

    So does this mean the Lakers are cancelling the statue that Nash promised Howard?

    • ludachrisgsx - Jul 10, 2013 at 4:39 PM

      A statue represents gratitude for dedication, loyalty and achievement… a bit of wishful thinking and premature ego-stroking on Nash’s part. Howard hasn’t shown he deserves a statue from any team he’s played for yet.

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