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Phil Jackson says in book update Dwight Howard left Lakers because of Kobe, new CBA hurts team continuity

Jul 17, 2014, 7:29 PM EDT

New York Knicks Press Conference Getty Images

Phil Jackson has been busy this past year — getting engaged, almost getting to run a Seattle franchise, actually getting to run the Knicks franchise and more.

With that he updated his latest autobiography, 11 Rings — which you should have read already anyway so now you just need to read the updated part.

The New York Daily News got an exclusive excerpt of that addition.

In it Jackson talks about how the fractured Kobe Bryant/Dwight Howard relationship ended up being what killed any shot of a Howard return to the Lakers.

The Lakers invited Kobe and Steve (Nash) to the final pitch meeting to help persuade Dwight to come on board. It sounded like a good idea. Steve sent out an amusing tweet before the meeting: “Dwight Howard we’re coming for you. You’re going to love the statue we build for you outside Staples in 20yrs!” And Kobe made a moving speech during the pitch, promising to teach Dwight the secret of winning championships that he’d learned from the best in the game.

If the meeting had ended there, it might have worked. But after the presentation, Dwight asked Kobe what he was planning to do after he recovered from his Achilles injury. Was this going to be his last year? “No,” replied Kobe. “I’m planning to be around for three or four more years.”

At that point, according to others in the room, Dwight’s eyes went blank and he drifted away. In his mind, the game was over.

There’s a lot more in this excerpt — Jackson talks about the Lakers discussions in hiring him and how he is pretty sure Mike D’Antoni was a Jim Buss not Jerry Buss call, how things ended with Dr. Buss, his engagement, his dalliance with the failed bid to bring a team to Seattle, and more. It’s worth a read.

But the other part I found most interesting was his take on the current CBA and it’s impacts.

It tightened up teams spending and has led to increased player movement, which has led to increased off-season player movement and interest from fans. The NBA has a real “hot stove league” now that fans are eating up.

However, Jackson says this comes at the expense of team building.

Sadly, what inevitably is getting lost in this shift is a sense of continuity over time. Not only will the new agreement make it virtually impossible for teams — no matter how fat their wallets — to assemble lineups with more than two or three bona fide stars, it will also significantly reduce the number of players who can play the bulk of their careers on the same team. When I was with the Knicks, most of the key players on our championship teams — including Bill Bradley, Willis Reed, Walt Frazier, and Dave DeBusschere — were together for six years or more. That may never happen again. Instead we’re going to see a lot of teams made up of one or two stars and a cast of interchangeable specialty players on short-term contracts. As a result, it will be even more difficult to build the kind of group consciousness necessary to excel. The only remedy is to create a culture that empowers the players and gives them a strong foundation to build upon. Otherwise they’ll be too insecure to focus their energy on bonding together as a team.

  1. antistratfordian - Jul 17, 2014 at 7:36 PM

    “I’m planning to be around for three or four more years.”

    Dwight, Kupchak and Buss all went into panic mode when they heard that probably.

    “Kobe… cmon now… be reasonable. I thought we talked about 2 years, max. Whats this 3-4 years talk? Oh, wait, I get it. Funny guy. Dwight, Kobe’s just kidding – he’s a funny guy. He’s a joke maker. Tell him you’re a joke maker, Kobe.”

    • musician0785 - Jul 17, 2014 at 7:41 PM

      none of that was funny….Your Kobe hate is laughable

      • antistratfordian - Jul 17, 2014 at 7:43 PM

        Nah, it was funny.

      • musician0785 - Jul 17, 2014 at 7:43 PM

        Problem is….you’re the only person who thinks so

      • antistratfordian - Jul 17, 2014 at 7:46 PM

        Suuuure. Hey, if it offends Lakers fans, even just a little bit, then it’s HILARIOUS!

      • musician0785 - Jul 17, 2014 at 7:49 PM

        It offends fans of comedy

      • antistratfordian - Jul 17, 2014 at 7:55 PM

        Uh huh.

      • therealhtj - Jul 17, 2014 at 8:00 PM

        It wasn’t funny, but likely fairly close to the truth.

      • censoredpost - Jul 17, 2014 at 8:16 PM

        Anti, The only thing that offends Laker fans is not making the finals. 31 trips between 1948 and 2010 (50%). Go LakeShow.

      • irvness21 - Jul 18, 2014 at 9:43 AM

        I love watching nerds fight!!!!

    • sportsfan18 - Jul 17, 2014 at 9:48 PM

      and they thanked Kobe by throwing just a tad under $50 million at him to keep him around for two more yrs which made it 3 of the 3 or 4 more yrs that Kobe said he wanted to play.

  2. casualcommenter - Jul 17, 2014 at 7:54 PM

    It seems like Phil Jackson burns Kobe once every 6 months or so with a new “revelation” or “details” about something involving Kobe.

    Now it’s Phil saying Dwight left because of Kobe, during last season it was Phil saying MJ was a better player and more enjoyable to coach than Kobe, and a few months before that it was Phil saying positive things about Shaq at the expense of Kobe.

    The “Phil taking a shot at Kobe” story seems to happen a couple of times per year since Jackson quit coaching the Lakers.

    • bonzmo67 - Jul 17, 2014 at 8:29 PM

      Because he’s the only person that can tell it like it is about Kobe, that he can’t dispute what he says and still has mad respect for Phil to still want to play for him.

    • realfootballfan - Jul 17, 2014 at 8:43 PM

      I don’t know if it’s a shot since everyone knew this was the case. He’s just being honest.

    • sportsfan18 - Jul 17, 2014 at 9:55 PM

      But this isn’t really new.

      This same author wrote a bit over a year ago on this very site and he said the following:

      “Before Kobe Bryant went down with his Achilles tendon injury, he sounded like a guy who wanted to play another year, maybe two, then hang them up. He dropped all kinds of hints about that.

      Now he is changing his tune.”

      “If you’re Dwight Howard, sitting down with the Lakers on Tuesday to hear their pitch about how you are their future, how does this sit with you?

      It’s just very Kobe to have a new obstacle thrown up in his was so now he’s energized for more seasons as he tries to conquer it.”

      The article on this site from a yr ago is here.

      It was discussed for days afterwards and everyone basically knew that Dwight wasn’t going to stay around and play with Kobe for that long.

      Other said it a year ago and so now Phil says it. Phil said something that was known and had been out a long time.

    • duhwighthoward - Jul 17, 2014 at 10:51 PM

      How do you figure he’s taking a shot at Kobe?

    • themars211 - Jul 18, 2014 at 1:34 PM

      I’m trying to figure out when Phil became Joan Rivers? I mean enough already with the books. He can say whatever he likes about Kobe but 5 of those rings he wears are the direct results of the same guy he takes constant shots at! Who cares if Dwight doesn’t want to play with Kobe. What has he ever won. Hell he can’t even win the pro athlete with most baby mama’s award (A. Cromartie has that title) and its not for a lack of trying. He wants his own team and be the face of a franchise but don’t have the common sense to wrap up his junk…..smdh. It shows his lack of responsibility and business acumen. If you want to be a brand and the face of a business you should carry yourself as such.

    • topdawg4ever - Aug 23, 2014 at 3:52 PM

      What else id Phil gonna talk about? Teaching Melo the triangle?

  3. billtetley53 - Jul 17, 2014 at 7:55 PM

    Pissy eyes, you wouldnt know comedy if it sat on your face.
    Do you ever post anything other than whining about other posters making fun of tje lakers and how much they stink right now?

    I have never seen you post anything remotely close to anything regarding basketball knowledge. Its just cry, cry, cry.

  4. campcouch - Jul 17, 2014 at 7:59 PM

    “At that point, according to others in the room, Dwight’s eyes went blank and he drifted away. In his mind, the game was over.”~Phil Jackson

    That’s going on my tombstone.

  5. therealhtj - Jul 17, 2014 at 8:07 PM

    Is everyone going to just gloss over the fact that Fredo Buss decides to hire that dimwit D’Antoni, and then lay the blame on his terminally ill father?

    This was a suspicion I’d always had, I just couldn’t believe even this entitled snot could disrespect the legacy of Dr. Buss like that.

    Now Laker fans can only hope this turd lives up to his word and relinquishes his role with the team.

    • realfootballfan - Jul 17, 2014 at 8:44 PM

      Who didn’t know this was the case either? Everyone knows Slow Buss made that call.

      • therealhtj - Jul 17, 2014 at 9:03 PM

        You’d have thought Dr. Buss earned enough respect to not be blamed for the D’Antoni blunder by his idiot kid. Not the case apparently.

  6. themagicfanguy - Jul 17, 2014 at 8:09 PM

    @bill It’s the same with you. All you do is fight with your GF all day on here, stop stalking each other like a bunch of creeps.

    • billtetley53 - Jul 17, 2014 at 8:41 PM

      Erroneous. You, my stupid friend have no clue what you are talking about.
      One only has to type in my name and pbt in google to see that i do speak about basketball. That i insult “he who shall not be named” in the process is icing on the cake.

  7. cowpiesnotcowboys - Jul 17, 2014 at 8:22 PM

    The more we hear about Kobe, the more we learn how his presence is detrimental to the Lakers. They would have been far better off and years ahead in their rebuilding if they really had amnestied Kobe as Cuban suggested.

    • rrhoe - Jul 17, 2014 at 8:49 PM

      Cuban would’ve been the first one trying to sign him……….

      • asimonetti88 - Jul 18, 2014 at 12:43 AM

        Cuban would have been calling Kobe to sign a contract before the ink dried on the amnesty.

    • duhwighthoward - Jul 17, 2014 at 10:57 PM

      That being said, I’d still take him over Duhwight. (even though his career is now over)

  8. hauts81 - Jul 17, 2014 at 8:28 PM

    “Instead we’re going to see a lot of teams made up of one or two stars and a cast of interchangeable specialty players on short-term contracts.”

    Isn’t this the way it’s been for a long time?

    • duhwighthoward - Jul 17, 2014 at 11:03 PM

      No, it’s a much more recent phenomenon. How else can you explain Sam Mitchell being the all time leading scorer and rebounder in TWolves history?

      Think back to the Lakers, Celtics, and Bulls dynasties of the 80’s, 90’s, and early 2000’s. There was great consistency in the lineup of both key players and role players from one year to the next.

      Now you have the Mavericks who made the Finals twice in five years with only two of the same players.

  9. JHathwell - Jul 17, 2014 at 8:39 PM

    This is old news. Dwight left because he’s allergic to winning.

  10. redskins21lakers24 - Jul 17, 2014 at 8:52 PM

    Phil has a man crush on Kobe. He must hate the Lakers for not resigning to be the coach with Dwight. Phil your a good coach but lets be honest, all your teams had the best players of their era you can’t take all the credit show some respect!

  11. raid2055 - Jul 17, 2014 at 8:57 PM

    Speaking from a Laker fans perspective, Howard won’t ever win a championship!!!!! Never! He wants a team to be his without putting in the work. Any idiots on this site that is saying Kobe is detrimental to the Lakers needs their heads examined. Name me a star player that walked himself into a championship without putting in the work. I am from Los Angeles and I live in Houston. I have a ball going into the barbershop and hearing how these Houston fans don’t really want him here. They see the problem with the guys attitude already. He has no heart. He want the whole team to be handed to him. Damn shame he has been on two teams(last two) where a guard has better low post move than he does. Kobe hate all you want, he has the hardware to back up being an A- Hole!

    • skins26portis - Jul 18, 2014 at 12:44 AM

      Howard has a better chance of winning a title before the Lakers will ever reach the finals again in the next 5 years.

  12. clownsfan - Jul 17, 2014 at 9:10 PM

    Dwight is a legend in his own mind. Selfish. Absolutely no heart. Prima Donna chump.

  13. gattaga72 - Jul 17, 2014 at 9:23 PM

    Kobe didn’t win any of his championships on his own… His first three were all Shaq! 3 time finals MVP… His 4th and 5th was shared with Gasol…Kobe is a cancer right about now.. Nobody wants to play to a selfish arrogant slap like Kobe Bryant

    • skins26portis - Jul 18, 2014 at 12:49 AM

      Exactly and Fakers fans hate to hear the truth about their fearless leader KoMe Bryant. No superstars in the current league want to play with him. Kobe loves to take shots at players on his team when they don’t win. Please keep Kobe around for 5 more years so you clowns can keep this circus act going.

    • musician0785 - Jul 18, 2014 at 1:27 PM

      You might wanna check the stats from those playoff runs again…..only one year did shaq average more than 5 points above Kobe’s average….

  14. lakerade - Jul 17, 2014 at 10:46 PM

    Phil’s right about the CBA hurting continuity and thus on-court flow, and his comments on Kobe sell books. The plan was always dwight AND cp3, so once that possibility went away it really wasn’t worth continuing down that path anyway. Rationalization perhaps, but the truth is not every guy can be The Guy. Patience, right Mitch? Mitch? *fashions noose while reading of Boozer signing*

  15. divan22 - Jul 17, 2014 at 11:58 PM

    B-b-b-but I thought Dwight left because the LA spotlight was too bright!

    Nope. He left because he had an awful coach and an awfully selfish Kobe Bryant to deal with.

    Despite all their cap space the Lakers can’t attract ANY stars to LA because nobody wants to play with Kobe. Kevin Love is from LA but he’d rather play in Cleveland with LeBron than in LA with Kobe. Is that Dwight’s fault too?

    • musician0785 - Jul 18, 2014 at 12:43 AM

      Kevin Love grew up in Oregon

  16. patfic5 - Jul 18, 2014 at 12:00 AM

    Dwight…..fake tough guy. Kobe…fake tough guy. Should’ve been gold.

    • skins26portis - Jul 18, 2014 at 12:50 AM

      Lakers fake bandwagon fan base

      • musician0785 - Jul 18, 2014 at 1:28 PM

        I love how the fan of a team with racial slur as its name is saying ANYTHING about the lakers…..

  17. themars211 - Jul 18, 2014 at 3:02 AM

    You guys are really invested in Kobe hate. With all he has accomplished. The rings, records, spending his entire career with one team…etc and he still gets no credit from you guys. I’ve never seen such an accomplished athlete get so much venom for nothing. He could cure cancer and help bring about world peace( not Metta) and he would have detractors.

    • loungefly74 - Jul 18, 2014 at 9:03 AM

      yet…they all are scared to reveal who their team is. because they know the bashing would be ten times worse on them. classis definition of a troll/hater/loser/fake.

  18. mackcarrington - Jul 18, 2014 at 4:02 AM

    It’s fascinating to me that with all that Jackson has to do with trying to rebuild the Knicks into a championship contender, that he has time to “update” his bio. I give him lots of credit for getting his story out there the way he wants it to be told, but the best biographies are objective ones written by outside parties with no personal agendas.

  19. unxpexted1 - Jul 18, 2014 at 8:53 AM

    So it is Kobe’s fault that he want’s to play more years? It’s obvious that Dwight thinks he is and wants to be the guy, and he know he can’t be that with Kobe around. I don’t think its that serious of a shot at Kobe.

    Also, it was no secret before he arrived that he didn’t want to be a Laker in the first place. He was only here because of a trade, not because he wanted to be. I think the only thing that would have kept him is if Phil was hired as coach because thats who he wanted.

  20. loungefly74 - Jul 18, 2014 at 8:57 AM

    I think Jackson knows this is a hot button amongst the fans. Anything about LA is a hot topic. Is this an attempt to sell more books? maybe. I mean, look at the amount of comments spewing the hate. Funny how (most) Laker fans dont give a dang about that hater’s team. Seriously, a commenter on here has strong indications that he is in the DC area. oh, should we bash on the Wizards? a team that has not been relevant since Jimmy Carter was President? seriously, that is a lifetime of nothing. Please go on about the Wizards’ banners. yeah, right. Or from clowns who don’t even have a team…but follow a player. pathetic. to each his own but still dont expect any respect when you bring nothing to the table. its easy to talk smack when you got nothing to stand on.

    As far as Dwight, well…he has no heart. He wants everything handed to him. The kid has great talent but is not a leader.

    • themars211 - Jul 18, 2014 at 2:03 PM

      Great point. I’m a Lakers fan and I don’t necessarily care what the other 29 teams are doing. The only team that can get me to react is the Boston Celtics (true rivals). I’m still feeling the sting from the 2008 loss. All these other teams fans are like little chihuahua’s nipping at your heels and just being a general nuisance. You can call it arrogance or whatever you would like to call it but that’s how I feel. If the Lakers are on a down cycle it is ok. It has happened before. The entire 90’s we didn’t go to or win any championships and we still have been to 50% of the championship series in league history. That is pretty impressive if you ask me. I guess we are the hunted at this point and that’s alright. But some of you other teams need to put down the slingshots and rocks. Its big game hunting time and you are not ready.

      • loungefly74 - Jul 18, 2014 at 2:26 PM


        nice. yeah, that 2008 loss hurt a lot. but man…how that played out (2010) made it so sweet. again, yes…the 90’s were rough. oh man. you are right about that.

        but yeah, man…you think the people talking smack act like their team just won 10 of the last 12 titles…or went to 7 in a row, ya know. its just baffling to me…all these smack-talkers, and they have their right to talk…to each his own, but it is always a mystery who their team is. gee, i wonder why. basically, they dish it..but dare not to ever take it.

  21. Fantasy Football Consultant - Jul 18, 2014 at 9:55 AM

    Instead of seeing that Howard was more focused on it being HIS team, you somehow turn it into Kobe hate. Dwight didn’t wanna pair up and win he wanted to walk the halls, being the man on a losing team.

  22. tv63 - Jul 18, 2014 at 10:05 AM

    Howard Left money on the table. That’s how much he couldn’t stand Kobe. SO your stupid headline misleading everyone that Howard left because of the new CBA is completely false concerning Dwight Howard.

  23. redskins21lakers24 - Jul 18, 2014 at 11:45 AM

    Doesn’t dwight howard have more things to worry about right now, like why is he sleeping with young teenagers, this guy is sick in the head and has a brain of a 16 year old, oh and he sucks. he is absolutely boring to watch, he has no low post moves, he looks like a robot out there, his stats are on the decline he’s not what he was is orlando, he’s just another player collecting a check, good luck with him houston… and phil smh Im not even gonna say nothing about you, it’s clear you respect the gum on the bottom of your shoe more then you respect Kobe!

  24. teambringitstrong - Jul 18, 2014 at 1:28 PM

    Laker haters are a very sad bunch. Reminds me of how the rest of the world views the US.

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