Dwight Howard reportedly wanted Lakers to move past the Kobe Bryant era
There have already been a number of theories floated around about why Dwight Howard chose not to re-sign with the Los Angeles Lakers, but this is one of the most interesting. We have heard that Howard felt Mike D’Antoni did not give him enough of a voice within the locker room, but did the power struggle also have to do with Kobe Bryant?
According to ESPNLosAngeles.com, Howard and his representatives told the Lakers in free agent meetings that the 27-year-old would have a hard time staying with the team if Bryant signed an extension beyond the 2013-2014 season. In other words, Howard supposedly wanted LA to move on from the Kobe Bryant era.
Sources reportedly told ESPN that the Lakers went to “great lengths” last year to assure Howard that he was the future face of the franchise as Kobe nears the end of his career. However, Bryant has recently expressed a desire to play well beyond next season and even said he will not be taking a pay cut on his next contract.
“How can it be Kobe’s team and Dwight’s team?” a source told ESPN. “It was about the passing of the torch.”
For what it’s worth, there were various reports throughout the season that indicated Kobe was riding Dwight pretty hard. Howard even publicly stated that he wished everyone would get off his case at one point. On Friday, he told Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com that the timing wasn’t right for him to stay in LA.
“Maybe two years ago, or 2-3 years from now, it would have been the right time” Howard said. “But I just think right now the timing was off for me. That’s not saying that L.A. is a bad place, but I just think it’s all about timing and fit when you’re talking about basketball. You can put anybody together on the court and expect them to win, but the pieces have to really fit in order for a team to be successful and it was very, very tough, man. It’s probably one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever had to make in my life.”
On Wednesday, Bryant said Howard has his own way of leading that may be most effective for him but doesn’t go along with Laker tradition.
“I think everybody is cut differently,” Kobe said. “[Howard] has his way of leading that he feels like would be most effective and would work for him, and obviously the way we’ve gone about it with this organization and the leaders that we’ve had — myself, Magic [Johnson] and Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar] — we’ve done it a different way.”
Perhaps the lights really were too bright for Howard in LA. If he wants to be known as a leader and go down as one of the best players in franchise history, he’s better off playing for a team that has less history than the Lakers. The Houston Rockets are probably a better fit.