Skip to content

Jim Buss says Dwight Howard ‘was never really a Laker’

Aug 15, 2013, 12:04 AM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers Introduce Mike Brown Getty Images

The Lakers did their due diligence in free agency this summer where Dwight Howard was concerned, getting the last word in their formal pitch after the coveted big man had met with other teams.

In the end, Howard chose to sign with the Houston Rockets — a decision that many felt was a foregone conclusion even before free agency officially began.

Howard endured a tumultuous season in Los Angeles, playing through health issues while he and the team remained highly scrutinized over their collective failure to dominate the competition as was widely expected. The fact that he chose not to return was understandable, as it was clear he didn’t enjoy his one year in Los Angeles playing under such a large spotlight.

In a recent profile Ric Bucher did on the Lakers front office for the Hollywood Reporter, Jim Buss said as much about Howard and the relationship he had with the franchise.

Jim insists he’s just following his father’s blueprint, but the Howard situation suggests he missed a page. Instead of Jim spending time with Howard, the team launched a widely derided media campaign that implored “Stay” on billboards. After Howard bolted, Jim turned on his former star, saying he wasn’t surprised or dismayed. “He was never really a Laker,” says Jim. “He was just passing through.”

Historically, All-Star caliber players have welcomed the opportunity to team with others at their level, as Howard did with Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Steve Nash. That wasn’t necessarily true, however, in Howard’s case.

He clashed with Bryant over perceived work ethic and dedication to winning, pushed back against the coaching staff wanting to use him in more pick and roll situations, and consistently showed up his teammates defensively when he believed an assignment or a rotation was missed.

Howard never seemed happy in a Lakers uniform, and never seemed all that likely to re-up with them by signing a max contract this summer. The comments from Buss may seem as though they were intended as some kind of slight against Howard, and the fact that he never truly committed to the Lakers organization.

But in reality, all Buss did was present a statement of fact.

Latest Posts
  1. Report: Corey Brewer not going to Cavaliers in Kevin Love trade

    Aug 1, 2014, 5:44 PM EDT

    Kyrie Irving, Corey Brewer Kyrie Irving, Corey Brewer

    Rumor had suggested Brewer could replace Kevin Martin or J.J. Barea in deal

  2. Derrick Rose: Bulls are more talented than at any point in his career

    Aug 1, 2014, 5:00 PM EDT

    NBA Cares All-Star Day of Service NBA Cares All-Star Day of Service

    Chicago added Pau Gasol, Nikola Mirotic and Doug McDermott this summer

  3. Knicks sign second-round pick Cleanthony Early

    Aug 1, 2014, 4:14 PM EDT

    Cleanthony Early Cleanthony Early

    New York had only minimum contract available

  4. Rumor: Corey Brewer to Cleveland now part of Kevin Love trade talk

    Aug 1, 2014, 3:37 PM EDT

    Minnesota Timberwolves v Denver Nuggets Getty Images

    If true, Corey Brewer would be a nice get for the Cavaliers.

  5. Tony Parker signs (another) contract extension with Spurs

    Aug 1, 2014, 2:22 PM EDT

    2014 NBA Finals - Game Five Getty Images

    Parker’s max extension: three years, $43,335,938

  6. Dwyane Wade says he has dropped weight, ready to take on more of offense

    Aug 1, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT

    Dwyane Wade Dwyane Wade

    Wade is trying to drop pounds to make life easier on his knees. We’ll see how much that helps.

  7. Isaiah Thomas: “I always will love Sacramento, but when we play them I’m going to kill Sacramento”

    Aug 1, 2014, 11:51 AM EDT

    Sacramento Kings v Golden State Warriors Getty Images

    “So when I say I felt disrespected, I just felt like the way I played the game of basketball wasn’t appreciated.” —Isaiah Thomas referring to Sacramento management.

  8. Paul George: Cavaliers are Eastern Conference favorites

    Aug 1, 2014, 11:20 AM EDT

    Indiana Pacers v Miami Heat - Game 3 Getty Images

    Why is the Pacers’ star choosing LeBron James’ team?

  9. Report: Greg Monroe ‘doesn’t really have a great interest in going back and playing with the Pistons’

    Aug 1, 2014, 10:29 AM EDT

    Atlanta Hawks v Detroit Pistons Atlanta Hawks v Detroit Pistons

    Pistons have reportedly talked sign-and-trade with Hawks, Suns and Blazers (but Portland is out)

  10. Spurs Coyote wins Mascot of the Year

    Aug 1, 2014, 9:44 AM EDT

    San Antonio Spurs Victory Parade And Rally Getty Images

    Finally, San Antonio basketball fans have a reason to be proud

  11. Best dunks from Team USA training camp (VIDEO)

    Aug 1, 2014, 8:44 AM EDT

    Stephen Curry Stephen Curry

    Kevin Durant has a couple nice ones.

  12. Vin Baker auctioning off his 2000 Gold Medal from Sydney Olympics

    Aug 1, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

    Vin Baker of the USA Getty Images

    Bidding starts at $35,000. Which we all have just lying around.

  13. Chris Bosh says he was ‘close’ to leaving the Heat in free agency

    Aug 1, 2014, 12:05 AM EDT

    Chris Bosh AP

    Bosh was very close to leaving Miami in free agency,

  14. Klay Thompson, Kyle Korver engage in three-point shooting contest at USA Basketball mini-camp (VIDEO)

    Jul 31, 2014, 11:05 PM EDT

    Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors Getty Images

    Klay Thompson and Kyle Korver engaged in a shooting contest at USA Basketball mini-camp in Vegas.

  15. Rosters announced for USA Basketball Showcase Friday night in Las Vegas

    Jul 31, 2014, 10:05 PM EDT

    2014 USA Basketball Men's National Team Practice Getty Images

    Mason Plumlee and DeMarcus Cousins will be on opposing teams in Friday’s exhibition.

Featured video

Why can't Lakers have a player-coach?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. L. James (4309)
  2. K. Love (4282)
  3. D. Rose (4101)
  4. K. Bryant (2858)
  5. R. Allen (2467)
  1. K. Durant (2307)
  2. C. Anthony (2276)
  3. E. Bledsoe (2145)
  4. B. Griffin (2131)
  5. D. Wade (2040)