Skip to content

Howard says it was “very tough” to play with Kobe, but that’s not why he left L.A.

Jul 15, 2013, 1:52 PM EDT

Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard AP

Lakers fans don’t want to hear this, but Dwight Howard handled the mechanics of his free agency pretty well. He met with teams but relatively quietly, not with media really camped outside the meetings. He made his decision quickly. He called the teams personally to inform them. Word leaked out faster than he and his team wanted (they should have been prepared for that) but there was no PR disaster of a television announcement.

However a lot of fans — as well as players such as new Clipper Jared Dudley — want to know why he really left Los Angeles. Because his explanation that it was a number of factors may be true but doesn’t mesh with our desire for one simple, clean reason.

Simple reasons such as he didn’t like playing with Kobe Bryant. Stephen A. Smith asked him about that as part of a lengthy interview with Howard on ESPN’s SportsCenter.

“Was it tough playing with Kobe? Yea, it was very tough. But playing along with Kobe didn’t have any parts of my decision going to Houston. I just felt like Houston was a better situation for me and my career. Me and Kobe, we had our disagreements, we had our moments. Everybody knows Kobe likes to score and there were times we would get at it getting the ball. And that happens on a team. ”

Howard went on to say he has to blame himself for letting the relationship get that way, for not demanding the ball with his play. Which is all true.

So Kobe played no part? Sure.

Kobe was one of those many factors for Howard — he wants a team that he feels is his and as long as Kobe pulls on a Lakers jersey that will be his team, his locker room. Howard could have tried to grab the reins of the team with his play, but he wasn’t up to the task both physically and in terms of maturity..

What I hear was the biggest factor was not Kobe however: The Rockets with Howard are contenders (they have to mesh, roster tweaks will be needed, but they are in the conversation now). The Lakers have the cap space to rebuild this team into a contender around Howard next summer, but he didn’t fully trust that management could pull that off. He knew what he was getting in Houston.

In the end, if Howard fights through the eventual adversity and wins a ring or rings with James Harden in Houston then he can easily justify his choice. He doesn’t win and that weighs on his legacy. He has to do it and do it in Houston. This was his choice of landing spots, there is no forcing your way out of the situation if you don’t like it. He has to just win now. It’s on him.

Latest Posts
  1. Report: Raptors, DeMarre Carroll agree to four-year deal worth $60 million

    Jul 1, 2015, 12:29 PM EDT

    Nice get for Toronto, and a Hawks team that won 60 games is going to look very different next season.

  2. Report: Spurs reach deal to trade Tiago Splitter to Hawks, create cap space for LaMarcus Aldridge offer

    Jul 1, 2015, 12:03 PM EDT

    Tiago Splitter, LaMarcus Aldridge AP

    The Spurs can now offer Aldridge the chance to return to his native Texas and walk right onto a serious title contender.

  3. Report: Kobe Bryant was ‘very good’ in Lakers meeting with LaMarcus Aldridge, which went ‘really well’

    Jul 1, 2015, 11:26 AM EDT

    2015 BET Experience - Genius Talks Presented By AT&T Getty Images

    Lakers feel better about this one than previous meetings with Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard.

  4. Report: Heat, Goran Dragic agree to five-year deal worth $90 million

    Jul 1, 2015, 10:38 AM EDT

    Orlando Magic v Miami Heat Getty Images

    This was expected. But what happens with Dwyane Wade?

  5. Report: Bulls bringing back Mike Dunleavy on three-year deal worth $15 million

    Jul 1, 2015, 9:54 AM EDT

    Mike Dunleavy, James Harden AP

    Solid move by Chicago at an extremely reasonable price.

  6. Report: Cleveland Cavaliers reach out to veteran Tayshaun Prince

    Jul 1, 2015, 8:30 AM EDT

    Indiana Pacers v Detroit Pistons Getty Images

    Prince played better than you’d think last season, but he will turn 36 this coming year.

  7. Report: Kings aggressively pursuing Rajon Rondo

    Jul 1, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT

    Dallas Mavericks v New Orleans Pelicans Dallas Mavericks v New Orleans Pelicans

    Does putting Rajon Rondo, DeMarcus Cousins and George Karl in close proximity to each other for an entire NBA season seem like a good idea?

  8. Report: Nets reach deals to re-sign Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young

    Jul 1, 2015, 2:12 AM EDT

    Atlanta Hawks v Brooklyn Nets- Game Four Atlanta Hawks v Brooklyn Nets- Game Four

    Lopez gets three years, $60 million; Young gets four years, $50 million.

  9. Report: Pacers pushing hard to sign Monta Ellis

    Jul 1, 2015, 1:58 AM EDT

    Monta Ellis Monta Ellis

    The Hawks, Nuggets and Kings are also interested.

  10. Report: Kevin Love to meet with Lakers later in week

    Jul 1, 2015, 12:13 AM EDT

    Atlanta Hawks v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Four Getty Images

    Love said he was committed to Cleveland, now he is flirting with other teams.

  11. Kobe Bryant, Jeanie Buss will be in Lakers pitch meeting with LaMarcus Aldridge

    Jun 30, 2015, 11:00 PM EDT

    2015 BET Experience - Genius Talks Presented By AT&T Getty Images

    Kobe being in the room is not guaranteed, but it helps.

Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. L. Aldridge (4469)
  2. D. Wade (4277)
  3. J. Embiid (3749)
  4. L. James (3570)
  5. K. Love (3100)
  1. K. Bryant (2990)
  2. D. Cousins (2949)
  3. J. Butler (2610)
  4. T. Harris (2542)
  5. K. Durant (2398)