Dwight Howard reportedly wanted Lakers to move past the Kobe Bryant era

Dwight Howard Kobe BryantThere 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.

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Steve Nash didn’t think Lakers had chance of signing Dwight Howard before meeting

Steve Nash LakersFrom the sounds of it, Dwight Howard’s mind was already made up well before free agency began that he was going to leave the Los Angeles Lakers.

Steve Nash appeared on “Mason & Ireland” on 710 ESPN LA Tuesday and said there wasn’t much optimism for the Lakers heading into their meeting with Howard after free agency began, but he felt like the meeting went well.

“It was good,” Nash said of the meeting. “Frankly, I thought before the meeting we didn’t really have a chance. I’d like to think that after the meeting we had a chance.

“Ultimately, I think Dwight wasn’t comfortable here and didn’t want to be here. If he doesn’t want to be here, there’s no point for anyone to be here. So we wish him the best and move on.”

Nash also told Mason and Ireland that he didn’t feel like Dwight was comfortable in the pick and roll offense. Nash termed the Lakers’ season “a disaster in many ways,” and noted all the injuries they had. He says he went through health problems, Howard was recovering from back surgery, and Pau Gasol had foot and knee problems. But Nash was unable to identify one singular factor that may have led to the team’s struggles.

Nash said the Lakers “never found that confidence as a team” and “never found that commonality.”

There were many reports before Howard took his meetings that the Houston Rockets were the favorites to land him, so this might not be a big surprise. But it is interesting to note that the Lakers felt that vibe from Howard, which probably explains why they made the uncharacteristic big effort to get him back.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar rips Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard LakersThere was once a time when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had nice things to say about Dwight Howard, but that may have simply been a result of how happy he was to see Andrew Bynum go. Abdul-Jabbar was never fond of Bynum and his work ethic, and he was not shy about admitting it publicly. Similarly, he did not hide his feelings when addressing Howard’s departure from LA.

On Monday, Abdul-Jabbar took to Facebook to rip Howard and assure Lakers fans that the team will be fine without him.

“Dwight Howard is a perfect example of the fact that ‘potential has a shelf life,’” he wrote, via ESPNLosAngeles.com. “Laker fans should be patient and allow Mitch & company to prepare themselves to do some serious work in the free agent market.”

Howard has said he is excited to work with Hakeem Olajuwon now that he has signed with the Houston Rockets, but Abdul-Jabbar told Arash Markazi that Dwight told him the same thing and never reached out to him again. When Kareem was asked about teaching Howard the sky hook, he threw another jab at the 27-year-old center.

“At least he’d have an offensive move,” Kareem said. “He gets the ball on offense, oh my God, he doesn’t know what to do. It’s usually a turnover, people come and take the ball from him or tie his arms up. Offensively, he doesn’t get it. Hasn’t made any progress.”

Abdul-Jabbar is the second former Lakers big man to blast Howard since he announced his decision to leave LA, and I’m sure Dwight expected it. If he actually cared, he would have stayed with the Lakers.

Kobe Bryant explains why he unfollowed Dwight Howard on Twitter

Kobe Bryant Dwight HowardKobe Bryant and Dwight Howard are no longer teammates, which means Kobe no longer has to play nice with the center.

Immediately after Howard made his Twitter announcement that he was signing with the Houston Rockets in free agency instead of the Los Angeles Lakers, Bryant unfollowed his former teammate on Twitter. On Monday, while opining about the Lakers supposedly releasing Metta World Peace via the amnesty provision, Bryant explained why he unfollowed Howard.

Don’t worry, Kobe, but we didn’t really need the explanation. We know you’re more of an old-school type player who doesn’t get all mushy with opponents before games. And we know that you and Dwight didn’t exactly get along anyway, so there’s nothing wrong with not wanting to see his tweets in your feed.

Bryant also seemed to confirm over Twitter that the Lakers were releasing World Peace. He disagrees with the move.

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Ice Cube goes off on Dwight Howard in profane rant (Video)

Ice CubeDwight Howard’s departure from the Los Angeles Lakers has made him an enemy in the City of Angels. I’m sure he knew this was coming, but do you think Howard realized to what extent he’d be upsetting folks? If not, we have this video from Ice Cube to prove the point.

The rapper/actor went off on Howard during the Kings of the Mic Tour at the Greek Theatre on Sunday, according to the about page of the YouTube video. Cube calls Howard by the nickname “Dwight Coward,” and he drops about every cuss word imaginable during the rant. The language in the video is obviously NSFW:

“F— Dwight Howard. God dammit. We don’t need those punka– mutha—-ers on our team. We could give a f— about a Dwight Coward. We don’t need no b—-es on our team,” Cube says during the rant, which had dirtier words than his “No Vaseline” song.

“So I predict tonight, Kobe will win another championship before Dwight Howard ever sniffs one.”

Cube is a big LA sports fan and I understand why he is upset with Howard, but he’s crazy if he thinks Kobe will win another ring before Dwight sniffs one. The Rockets are so much closer to winning a championship than the Lakers. This is almost as bad as Cavs owner Dan Gilbert saying Cleveland would win a title before LeBron James. It’s nothing but bitterness from Lakers fans at this point, who don’t realize how much better of a situation Houston was for Howard.

If the Lakers wanted to keep Howard, they would have told Kobe that he had to become second in line to Howard and that the Lakers were Dwight’s team. But of course nobody is going to tell Kobe that, so that’s why Howard left.

Metta World Peace had no idea Dwight Howard signed with Rockets (Video)

Metta-World-PeaceDwight Howard announced he is signing with the Houston Rockets on Friday. Within minutes of his official decision, you would think anyone who has anything to do with the NBA would have known about it. Either Metta World Peace is just messing with people again, or it took him more than a day to hear the news.

On Saturday night, TMZ caught up with World Peace and asked him what he thought about Howard’s decision to leave LA. The Lakers forward acted like he had no idea, but we have to assume he was lying.

“He’s going to Houston,” World Peace asked. “I gotta call him tomorrow and see, I dunno. I dunno what he does, you know? When the season’s over I don’t even pay attention to basketball, so I don’t know what’s going on.

There’s just no possible way that’s true. Then again, World Peace has said some of the most insane stuff we have ever heard in the past, so maybe he was just on his own planet for 24 hours. On Sunday, he took to Twitter to rattle off some predictions for the upcoming season.

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Shaq rips Dwight Howard and Houston in same diss

Dwight Howard ShaqThe more things change, the more they stay the same. Dwight Howard may no longer be with the Los Angeles Lakers, but Shaq still loves to rip on him.

Speaking at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, Shaq leveled Howard with some criticism for leaving the Lakers to sign with the Houston Rockets.

“It was expected,” Shaq said. “We’ve all been in L.A., and not a whole lot of people can handle being under the bright lights. Everybody wants to do it, but when you get there, there are certain pressures. I think it was a safe move for him to go to a little town like Houston. That’s right, little town. I said it.”

Phil Jackson similarly commented on Howard leaving, saying the move “left a distaste in Lakerland.”

While the disses are funny, it’s just piling on in a weak way. Houston was a much better fit for Howard. The Lakers are Kobe’s team and he refuses to give that up. The Lakers will be worse off for keeping Bryant as the center of the team rather than building around Howard, who is younger and better than the aging Kobe, who is coming off an Achilles injury. Why would Dwight want to deal with Kobe’s crap the next three seasons instead of going to a better team that will appreciate him more?

Recall that Shaq has had a beef with Howard for years. It started when Shaq got pissed at Dwight for stealing the “Superman” nickname. Then they exchanged barbs over who was flopping when they played each other. Shaq continued to put Dwight down, saying he faces no competition. He even laughably said last season that Brook Lopez was better than Dwight. Shaq has too much hate for Howard for his comments about the center to be taken seriously.