With 29 regular-season games remaining and the playoffs still in sight, Kobe Bryant is more determined than ever to prove he and the Lakers can become the force they thought they were.
Whether center Dwight Howard is a part of that attempted revival doesn’t matter to Bryant, sources familiar with Bryant’s thinking told FOX Sports Ohio.
Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak has strongly nixed the notion that Howard could be moved prior to Thursday’s trading deadline. But if Kupchak changes his mind, he’d have Bryant’s full support, according to sources. Howard alone can hardly be blamed, and Bryant even admires how Howard has played through back and shoulder pain.
But sources say Bryant also wonders if Howard has the right approach, mental toughness and overall willingness to help the Lakers flourish in what has become their most important stretch.
Bryant is not alone in his concern, sources say. Nash, Pau Gasol and several others also seem fairly uneasy about Howard’s commitment to the cause.
According to sources, a number of Lakers have their doubts about whether Howard takes the game seriously and “wants it” enough for the challenges the team now faces.
However, sources say Kupchak has indeed taken several calls centered on Howard. So far, according to sources, Kupchak has quickly shot down any pitches.