Now that Howard has chosen the Houston Rockets over the Lakers reports are coming out with details of his meetings and what Howard’s representatives were saying. According to sources speaking with ESPN.com Howard was looking for a quick end to Bryant’s reign as the leader of the Los Angeles Lakers. It was said that Howard would have a difficult time re-signing with the Lakers if Kobe Bryant were to remain there beyond the 13-14 season, his contract year.
Bryant, while recovering from his Achilles’ tear, has found a new fire in his heart to play another three or four seasons in the NBA and this goes directly against Howard’s wanting to become the face of LA, so he bolted.
“How can it be Kobe’s team and Dwight’s team?” one source said. “It was about the passing of the torch.”
Here’s the part where it gets gutsy. Howard’s camp reportedly asked the Lakers if they were considering using their amnesty provision on Kobe Bryant, seeing that his return to basketball was up in the air due to his devastating injury. It seems quite audacious to ask such a question, in other words, are you willing to throw out Bryant, arguably the best Laker ever, for Howard who hasn’t really proven his worth up until this point. Of course the Lakers said this wasn’t up for discussion and the end of Bryant’s tenure with the Lakers would be up to Bryant himself, you don’t just
throw in the towel on someone of his caliber.
It had even been discussed that Howard, when in talks with Chris Paul about teaming up, said that they both could play in LA for either the Lakers or the Clippers. This would mean however, trading Nash and Gasol to make room for both their salaries, oh and they’d still be amnestying Bryant. Immediately this plan was off the table for the Lakers as they don’t see this as a viable option going forward.
Howard wanted the transfer of power sooner rather than later, and Kobe, now wanting to play three more seasons, was the biggest obstacle in his way. Here’s what Howard had to say regarding his latest decision in free agency.
“I just really think the timing in L.A., it wasn’t right for me,” Howard told ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Dave McMenamin on Friday. “Maybe two years ago, or 2-3 years from now, it would have been the right time. 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.”
This actually makes a whole lot of sense when you look at it from Howard’s perspective, should this have happened a couple years ago or a few years into the future Howard may have re-signed with LA as the timing would have been more appropriate. With Bryant still leading the team for three more seasons likely and Howard wanting to be the franchise player now, the puzzle pieces just didn’t fit into place.
Howard also wants it to be known that D’Antoni wasn’t the sole reason for his departure.
“I think that we had our moments, but I think that his style was a little bit different than what I was accustomed to,” Howard told ESPNLosAngeles.com of D’Antoni. “But I don’t want to blame any of that on the coach as the reason why I’m leaving.”
Overall Howard wanted the Lakers to be his own, he wanted to call the shots, have the offense run through him, and be the face of LA. Kobe Bryant still being there however, impeded that vision of Howards, ultimately leading him to sign with a Rockets team that was much more amenable to his needs. I find it interesting that his camp actually was thinking the Lakers would amnesty Kobe Bryant for Howard to take the reigns in the least organic way possible. You can’t force things like this, they just happen with time and that’s how championship teams are built. Dwight Howard’s time in Los Angeles was running out from the second he stepped foot into Staples’ Center, and it clearly just wasn’t meant to be.
How do you feel about Howard’s camp asking if the Lakers would amnesty Kobe Bryant, audacious? Acceptable? Rude? Let’s hear it Nation!