Kobe Bryant: I don’t give a s— about Dwight Howard leaving (Video)

You think Kobe Bryant is sick of talking about Dwight Howard yet?

Speaking at Los Angeles Lakers Media Day Saturday, Bryant was surrounded by reporters and asked questions about Howard’s choice to leave the Lakers for the Houston Rockets. They were the same questions Bryant answered all summer, so no doubt he was tired of hearing about the subject.
Dwight Howard Kobe Bryant
Bryant said he wasn’t surprised that Howard chose to sign with Houston, indicating he felt that was going to happen. When asked why he got that feeling, Kobe said “honestly man, I really don’t give a s—. It is what it is. If he came back, it would’ve been great. If he didn’t, it’s not. It is what it is.”

It is what it is. Kobe isn’t the first Laker to say he felt Dwight wasn’t going to come back, so what can they really do? Dwight didn’t want to be there for a variety of reasons. Having to be second in line to Kobe was probably the biggest reason. Now it’s time for both sides to move on. The Lakers will move on to mediocrity, while Houston will move forward to being one of the top teams in the Western Conference. It is what it is.

H/T The Point Forward

Dwight Howard reportedly wanted Mike D’Antoni fired, Kobe released or muzzled

Dwight Howard Kobe BryantDwight Howard had two conditions he wanted the Los Angeles Lakers to meet in order to remain with the team, according to a report.

NBA reporter Ric Bucher says the current Houston Rockets center wanted the Lakers to fire Mike D’Antoni as coach, and to either amnesty or at least “muzzle” Kobe Bryant. Neither condition should come as a surprise to anyone who’s followed the situation.

It was previously reported that Howard was frustrated with the way D’Antoni used him last season, and that he disliked D’Antoni’s system. Another report from July said Howard wanted the Lakers to move past the Kobe Bryant era. Howard even admitted that the “timing” wasn’t right for him to stay with the Lakers.

The Lakers made the difficult — and in many cases unpopular — decision to make Kobe their franchise cornerstone in 2004 and trade Shaq to the Miami Heat. Though Shaq was the more dominant player at the time — he won a title in his second season with the Heat — Bryant was the better long-term investment for the franchise. The Lakers were in the same situation now but, instead of taking the better long-term play, they opted to keep the franchise in the hands of Kobe. I think it was a bad decision.

Houston Rockets will experiment with Dwight Howard at forward

Dwight Howard RocketsThe Houston Rockets have a fairly stacked front court after signing free agent centers in consecutive years. This offseason, they managed to land Dwight Howard, who was the most coveted player on the market. The year before, they signed Omer Asik to a three-year deal.

Asik was said to be upset after the team acquired Howard and reportedly wanted to be traded. He is still with Houston, and it looks like the team will try to make the most of having both players.

Rockets GM Daryl Morey conducted an “ask me anything” session on Reddit Friday and explained Asik’s role on the team.

“Omer would prefer to be a starter and is certainly a starter+ quality player. That said, he is a winner first & likes being on a winning team,” Morey said in response to someone who asked about Asik and Howard sharing the center position.

Morey was also asked if Asik could see minutes as a power forward, which would allow him and Howard to be on the court at the same time. Morey says they will explore that possibility, only with the positions reversed.

“Coach McHale plans to experiment with Dwight at PF and Omer as C in training camp. If it works and helps us win, obviously we would look at using it,” Morey wrote.

There is speculation that Morey saying he will play Asik and Howard together is a claim intended to boost Asik’s trade value. It certainly doesn’t seem like having Howard and Asik — both big rebounders and defensive presences who can’t shoot free throws very well — together on the court at the same time would be a great idea.

Another interesting quote came when Morey was asked about the report that Chris Paul was threatening the Clippers that he would sign with the Rockets. In response, Morey called Chris Paul the best point guard in the NBA and said it was flattering to hear the Clippers guard had interest in joining their team.

H/T Rotoworld

Jim Buss: Dwight Howard was never really a Laker

Dwight Howard LakersDwight Howard spent very little time with the Los Angeles Lakers before heading off to Houston. Most NBA fans envisioned Howard becoming the face of the Lakers’ franchise after Kobe Bryant retired, but the plan never came to fruition. Team executive vice president Jim Buss does not sound surprised.

Rick Bucher interviewed Buss for a recent profile of the Lakers front office in The Hollywood Reporter, and the son of the late Jerry Buss offered some straight-forward comments about Howard.

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.’

Those close to Howard say the Lakers could have persuaded him to stay. Even Jeanie believes that if her father had not been sick, he would have sealed the deal like so many before it. ‘It’s disappointing that Dwight isn’t here,’ she says. ‘I feel like we failed him.'”

This is not the first time Jeanie has said she felt her father could have kept Howard in LA. At the end of the day, the Lakers should not feel badly about losing Howard. If his heart wasn’t in it, it’s probably best to let him go to another city. That being said, it’s obvious a number of factors could have influenced the situation.

In addition to the passing of Jerry Buss, Howard has essentially admitted that things would have been different if the Lakers hired Phil Jackson instead of Mike D’Antoni. The team may have had more success last season and Howard may have wanted to stay to play for Jackson, especially since he did not get along with D’Antoni during his one season in LA.

Instead, Howard wound up “just passing through.” Whether or not that was a foregone conclusion is a matter of personal opinion.

H/T Pro Basketball Talk

Dwight Howard torches Twitter hater

Dwight-Howard-RocketsHouston Rockets center Dwight Howard deals with more criticism than any player in the NBA, and most of it is well-deserved. Howard’s free agency adventures have shown us that he loves to be the center of attention and isn’t exactly the most humble superstar in the league. However, we have to give the big man credit for the way he roasted a hater on Twitter earlier this week.

On Tuesday evening, one of Howard’s followers tweeted at him to tell him she thought he would never win a championship ring. Rather than ignore the troll, Dwight pulled out an epic insult.

Boom, roasted. This is not the first time Howard has defended himself on Twitter, but it is easily his best comeback. There isn’t much the young lady can say in response to that. I’m certainly not his biggest fan, but I’d be lying if I said that didn’t make me laugh.

H/T The Score

Dallas Mavericks made superhero-themed video pitch to Dwight Howard

The Dallas Mavericks were unsuccessful in their effort to sign free agent Dwight Howard, but they put together a pretty cool video as part of their pitch to the center.

Mavs owner Mark Cuban wrote a lengthy blog post about the status of his team and reflected on how the past few years have gone for the franchise. In the blog post, Cuban discussed the team’s free agent meeting with Howard. Cuban says “[the Mavericks] believed we could make it work” with fitting Howard into the team’s culture, and he gave credit to Howard for being very smart and an excellent listener.

Cuban also shared the video the team played for Howard. The video is like an animated comic book story with Howard as a superhero. One cool part of the video shows the Mavericks sending out the bat signal to Howard, with the Mavs logo as the signal:

[Read more...]

Mark Cuban: Dallas Mavericks are better off without Dwight Howard

Dwight-Howard-RocketsThe Dallas Mavericks were one of the teams who were believed to be in the final running earlier this month as Dwight Howard weighed his options for the future. Once it became obvious Howard wasn’t going to return to Los Angeles, the Houston Rockets had to beat out the Mavs and the Golden State Warriors in the Dwight sweepstakes.

Mark Cuban is not crying over Dwight’s decision.

“I think we’ve put ourselves in a spot where we’re in a better spot than we were at if we got just the one max-out deal,” the Mavs owner told ESPNDallas.com on Wednesday night. “I think it’d be better shorter and longer term. I don’t want to make that sound the wrong way. I think we’ll be better this year because we added five good players or more.”

Signing Howard would have complicated things a bit for Dallas, but Cuban wanted him as badly as anyone else. The Mavs would have had to clear roster space by dumping one or two veterans, but it would have been well worth it for a 27-year-old All-Star who could have become the cornerstone of their franchise with Dirk nearing the end of his career.

“Obviously we didn’t get Dwight,” Cuban said. “We took a chance, and it didn’t happen. I think we put together a really good team. It sticks within the culture we’ve tried to define. We’ve dealt with some of the weaknesses we had from last year. Hopefully if we stay healthy, good things will happen.”

After missing out on Howard, the Mavericks turned their attention to guards Jose Calderon, Monta Ellis and Wayne Ellington as well as center Samuel Dalembert. All are valuable players, and signing Howard would not have given Dallas the ability to build that type of depth.

Cuban admitted he is “disappointed” the Mavs missed out on Dwight but said he’s glad they were able to land “much more” talent than they expected. Time will tell if the additions will be enough, but there’s no guarantee Howard would have been a fit. Cuban and company simply have to work with what they have.