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Report: Dwight Howard wanted D’Antoni fired, Kobe amnestied if he was to remain with Lakers

Aug 24, 2013, 5:00 PM EDT

Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard AP

The Dwight Howard saga as it related to his decision to ultimately choose the Rockets over the Lakers in free agency has been well-chronicled, and it feels like we’ve heard just about all of the details surrounding the reasons for his departure.

In short, Howard didn’t like the way he was being utilized in Mike D’Antoni’s offense, and his personality couldn’t have been more opposite to that of Kobe Bryant, which (along with all of the losing) made his time in Los Angeles extremely miserable.

But if all of that somehow wasn’t clear by now, we have yet another report that Howard may have considered re-upping with the Lakers had they been ready to make the franchise his from day one — by removing those two components that made his time there so unpleasant.

From Ric Bucher of CSNBayArea:

Talks with various people close to the situation make it clear there were two prerequisites for Dwight Howard to remain a Laker: fire Mike D’Antoni and amnesty, or at the very least muzzle, Kobe Bryant.

The Lakers apparently asked Dwight to be patient on both fronts for at least another season, telling him “hey, you’re going to have to gut this out another year,” a source said, although it sounds as if VP of basketball ops Jim Buss isn’t ready to abandon Kobe anytime soon. “Dwight didn’t want to play with Kobe for 2-3 more years,” Buss said. “I’m going to stand behind Kobe because of his history with the franchise.”

It wouldn’t have been that simple, of course, and most believe that Howard’s mind was made up to leave Los Angeles before free agency even began. But either way, the Lakers made the right decision.

Howard has proven to be a game-changer on the defensive end of the floor when healthy, but he has yet to show that he’s capable of being the best player on a championship-winning squad. To be fair, that’s an extremely short list in today’s NBA, and Bryant may be past the point in his career where he’d still fall into that category if he were to be surrounded once again with a deep and talented supporting cast.

What isn’t up for debate, however, is the fact that Bryant is one of the greatest players to ever play the game, and he’s been a part of five championship teams in his 17 years with the Lakers. You simply don’t cut that era short in exchange for chasing a player who doesn’t have anywhere near those credentials.

  1. sackings916 - Aug 24, 2013 at 11:57 PM

    Who the hell think this guy is!? Get rid of Kobe? I am a Kings fan here in Sacramento, so it’s safe to say we don’t really like the Lakers what so ever. But you have to appreciate someone like Kobe and everything he has given to the game, Dwight could learn a lot from him and should have felt honored to play with one of the greats. I seriously do not like Howard at all!

    • miamatt - Aug 25, 2013 at 1:03 PM

      You nailed it. I’m no kinda Kobe fan but man I sure respect him and I can’t say the same about Dwightmare.

    • tcrudisi - Aug 25, 2013 at 6:32 PM

      It doesn’t matter if the guy is Lebron James or Desagana Diop. He was negotiating. If the Lakers wanted him back, they knew his price. He was demanding more than he deserved? Well, maybe, but he was also telling the Lakers under what conditions he would return. He had other suitors so it wasn’t as if he was shooting himself in the foot by foregoing the only team available to him.

      Let’s face it: If you or I were in his position, we’d do the exact same thing. He wants to go somewhere that he’s happy and he’s already getting paid millions. A few million dollars is no difference to him, but happiness is a big deal. He just simply let the Lakers know what would make him happy and put the ball in their court. They decided not to play, so he went elsewhere.

      Does that mean that he thinks he’s better than Kobe? Nope. (He might think he’s better than Kobe, but it’s impossible to tell from this one incident.) Does it mean that, when he was negotiating, he cared more about happiness than he did about money? Yep – and he let the Lakers know that.

  2. scottheis82 - Aug 25, 2013 at 12:32 AM

    The Rockets will fall short this season and then in about 10 months this will be just the kind of roster that “intrigues” Phil Jackson, you know that guy DH wanted in LA.

  3. sharksfan97 - Aug 25, 2013 at 12:38 AM

    Kobe Bryant, and yes I’ve never liked the guy, is a cancer for that franchise. However, I’m from San Diego, meaning I have an extreme dislike for all LA sports franchises. So, please stay in LA as long as you please you snake (he does
    like being called a Mamba).

    • whereyaat - Aug 26, 2013 at 8:33 PM

      As usual, the San Diegan doesn’t know much about basketball or sports. You know why the Clippers left San Diego? San Diegans don’t go to any games.

      The only time Petco is full is when the Dodgers, Red Sox, or Yankees are in town. Then you guys complain, even though they’re actually helping your attendance stats. Don’t even get me started how many blackouts the Chargers are going to have this season, lol. No need to fret though, they’ll be the L.A. Chargers soon enough.

    • psubeerman21 - Aug 30, 2013 at 5:46 PM

      The cancer with 5 titles? Where do I sign up for that???

  4. metrocritical - Aug 25, 2013 at 1:15 AM

    Objectively speaking, the ideas may have had merit, however, Dwight Howard has proven himself to be the ultimate in self centered petulance. As weak of mind as he is strong of body and doesn’t appear to have the psychological armor to withstand the pressure of high intensity competition or the consistency of character to be a leader. While he might have some real success in Houston, with a roster of sufficiently cohesive talent and coaching, D. Howard’s bellyaching makes it impossible for the non-hometown NBA fan to root for him. I hope he fails.

  5. jerdogthompson - Aug 25, 2013 at 1:26 AM

    The #realtruth comes out.


  6. 00maltliquor - Aug 25, 2013 at 2:44 AM

    I haven’t Howard-bashed nor did I have hard feelings towards him upon his departure, but this right here….this right here….amnesty or muzzle Kobe!? Mr. LA? Mr. Lakers?!

    EAD and kick rocks with wearing flip flop sandals you ____ing LOSER!!!!!

  7. 00maltliquor - Aug 25, 2013 at 3:14 AM

    And mother kucf Jim Buss for putting up Dwight Howard “STAY” banners and billboards all over LA!!!!!

  8. acdc84 - Aug 25, 2013 at 4:16 AM

    LMAO Howard is a perpetual loser. To be fair its never been about money for him… He’d just MUCH rather be in a place where he’s not pressured to perform as an elite player or win a title. He’ll be content being the second or third option on a second round and out playoff team. There’s no shame in that, as the league needs third-rate stars, just as long as he’s happy going down in history as a solid defensive rebounder that will be forgotten two years after he retires…

  9. 00maltliquor - Aug 25, 2013 at 4:28 AM

    Man I’m so glad this fugazi punk clown is not on the Lakers!! Just sucks he went to the only other team that I root for in HOU. I just can’t shake him! It’s going to be real hard for me to root for the Rockets this year >:-(
    Oh well, at least he’s off my main team!

  10. showtimefolks007 - Aug 25, 2013 at 4:40 AM

    All the rockets fans in comments saying well lakers Gould have done what he said, but we know D12 isn’t worth the headache

    You will hate him too just wait, he wanted his coach fired with magics and to his wish now he wanted to run the lakers

    Next just wait lol, you will see why we hate him so much. When game is on the lime he can’t be in the game because he can’t make free throws or doesn’t have a offensive game yet he wants to be the main focus of the team

    Give me a break

    Enjoy I much rather have our current lakers squad, bunch of players who have something to prove. Haters can hate

  11. jp49er80 - Aug 25, 2013 at 6:42 AM

    Sounds sensible to me..

  12. chicagofan - Aug 25, 2013 at 9:45 AM

    You writers will print anything–I don’t believe this story!!! I don’t like Howard at all but I don’t believe he would ever try to get rid of Kobe–he is not that dumb or naïve. D’Antoni sucks and should never been hired and I 100% agree with Howard on getting rid of him. Jordan helped get rid of Doug Collins and went on to win 6 titles without him as vindication for his disloyalty to his coach. D’Antoni will never win an NBA title. Kobe is a winner and vital weapon for LA –soon to retire and Howard would be a fool to want that–where were they going to get someone better. You writers will print any BS but some stories have no credibility and this is one of them.

    • mytthor - Aug 26, 2013 at 12:26 AM

      This story says that Ric Bucher wrote that this was what Dwight wanted. If Bucher said it, than this story is true.

  13. MyTeamsAllStink - Aug 25, 2013 at 10:48 AM

    the Lakers are going to end up like the 80s Celtics did.Letting old players hang out too long and suck for a decade.

  14. bball1950 - Aug 25, 2013 at 11:40 AM

    Coach killer and back-stabbing teammate. Great guy. Not!

  15. Kansachusetts - Aug 25, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    Bottom line: Dwight Howard is not hungry, has never been hungry, and if he ever gets hungry it will probably be too late.

  16. tahjay - Aug 25, 2013 at 4:40 PM

    I think we all know where kobe will lead the lakers next year: first round exit.

  17. s7sixers3 - Aug 25, 2013 at 5:26 PM

    i’m no dwight howard fan, but this writer is insinuating that dwight’s defense was never championship winning caliber defense BECAUSE dwight hasn’t won a ring. in that case, chris paul and westbrook and drose are not championship winning caliber point guards either. therefore they must not be very good. and karl malone and john stockton? pshh what a bunch of phonies! they never won a ring! they are not “championship winning caliber players” either! this writer must prefer an all championship lineup of steve kerr, derek fisher, and robert horry!

    and maybe someone wants to look into why there are so few significant free agents that have signed with the lakers ever since shaq left. because NOBODY wants to play with kobe. their top recruited player is ron artest, old jamison, and old nash (this one was by far the most significant but he was 38 and wanted to be with his kids or something). bynum was drafted, and hated kobe. pau is a good sport, but he was robbed from memphis in that kwame brown trade. i know kobe is supposed to be the closest thing to jordan, but he doesn’t seem to be a very likeable teammate.

  18. s7sixers3 - Aug 25, 2013 at 5:31 PM

    everybody also seems to forget that the lakers organization was absolutely BASHED and ripped up by the media in 2004 when they traded away shaq because kobe wanted him gone. shaq, the beloved superstar of the lakers, was forced out of town by kobe. there was a 2 year period where the city of los angeles HATED kobe because of that fiasco. everybody forgot that mitch kupchak made the hard but correct choice in keeping the younger superstar. i don’t think the lakers could abandon kobe at this point in their history together, but it’s not like kobe didn’t do the exact same thing 9 years ago.

    • Kurt Helin - Aug 26, 2013 at 10:45 AM

      Shaq forced Shaq out of town, Jerry Buss was fed up with him, but Kobe’s free agency forced the timing. The situation is more complex than “Kobe forced Shaq out” and if the situation were reversed and Shaq had the free agency hammer he would have demanded Kobe was traded. But you are right, media members bashed the Lakers for that move, mostly because they loved Shaq and not the aloof Kobe. I started my first blog in part to respond to that BS.

      • s7sixers3 - Aug 28, 2013 at 6:09 PM

        yes, true, kobe wasn’t the only factor involved in shaq leaving, but it was not a secret or a random rumor that kobe wanted shaq gone. they traded shaq (for lamar odom and caron butler, which was considered pennies on the dollar at the time), and the very next day kobe resigns. it is unlikely that they made that trade without knowing kobe would resign, and kobe didn’t resign until the trade was completed. either way, it is dangerous territory to say anything negative about kobe, as he commands a near-religious fervor in southern california.

      • Kurt Helin - Aug 30, 2013 at 4:59 PM

        Kobe had the hammer and used it. All I’ve ever said is that 1) Phil sided with Shaq because he needed the veterans in the locker room and they were with Shaq, but Shaq had issues with like Gary Viti, the long time trainer, saying he was “a Kobe guy” and all this other stuff and helped poison the locker room; 2) If Shaq had had the hammer, he would have used it. In a heartbeat. Neither side is innocent here, but Buss went with the younger player with the better work ethic, it was the only move to make.

  19. mytthor - Aug 26, 2013 at 12:27 AM

    You know, D’Antoni catches a lot of heat for not doing a better job of catering the offense to Howard. No one is making the point that Howard is not ever going to be a focal point of a good offense.

  20. bucs24 - Aug 26, 2013 at 7:48 AM

    Lakers will figure out that’s what they should of done Kobe is old and dumbtoni sucks as a coach.

  21. wtfruthinkn - Aug 26, 2013 at 6:48 PM

    Either way, it was a big time screw up to let Dwight walk for nothing. Kobe won’t be anything close to the player he was 5 years ago when he finally comes back, so why not lock up Dwight, fire dumb-ass D’Antoni and let Kobe play out his contract with as much dignity as possible before bringing in another big name scorer (like Carmelo) next year when you have some cap room? Nope, gonna let Dwight go ’cause he never really was a Laker anyway. And there is NO WAY and worthwhile free agent goes to LAL next year when they can get max deals if they stay put. But hey, maybe they can convince Jordan Framar to come back for another go. Great job, Jimbo!!

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