As was reported earlier, Coach Mike D’Antoni is expected to make his long anticipated debut on the bench for the Lakers tonight. If tonight’s game against the Brooklyn Nets (7:30PM PST on TWCSN & NBATV) didn’t already have enough drama leading up to it, a quote from yesterday’s media session may have added even more:
This past summer could certainly be dubbed the “Dwight Howard Saga” as the uncertainty of the center’s future lasted until August, when he was finally traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. Prior to the trade though, Howard’s desired destination had always been the Brooklyn Nets. When that failed to materialize after multiple trading attempts by the Nets, Brooklyn decided to go a different direction.
According to USA Today, Brooklyn Nets point guard Deron Williams advised Brooklyn management this past summer against pursuing Howard: “Please just don’t wait on Dwight. We can’t wait and not have a team.” After the attempts to land Howard failed, this statement as well as the subsequent moves for Joe Johnson, Kris Humphries and Brook Lopez ultimately led to end of Brooklyn’s pursuit of Howard.
Now in Los Angeles, Howard will face Williams tonight for the first of two meetings this season. After Howard’s quote about their friendship from yesterday, it will be interesting to see if there is any sort of “bad blood” between the two superstars on the court. Obviously, it seems that Howard does not care whether or not Williams is upset by him not joining the Nets this past off-season. Howard is currently working on putting the past behind him and is focused on moving forward, but this recent quote could make things awkward between the two, both on and off the court.
The Brooklyn Nets (6-2) enter Staples Center tonight riding a 5-game winning streak. With D’Antoni now permanently at the helm, the Lakers will need another solid performance from Howard to push past the Nets and end the Lakers home stand on a positive note. Hopefully Howard will use this volatile relationship with Williams as motivation and continue his stellar play as he works himself back into full strength.