Dwight Howard was once considered the future of the Los Angeles Lakers, but, instead of fan praise and championship titles, he was sent packing to the Houston Rockets.
According to Comcast’s Ric Bucher, Howard could have been re-signed but he wanted his demand met fully. Howard reported wanted the Lakers to amnesty Kobe Bryant or start to control his verbal lashings by “muzzling” him.
Bucher points out that Kobe Bryant went through a similar scenario in 2004 when he re-signed with the Lakers after they agreed to oust legendary head coach Phil Jackson and also trade Shaquille O’Neal to the Miami Heat.
So why would the Los Angeles Lakers deny the same request they made for Kobe Bryant in 2004? It all comes down to Kobe’s status. We saw what happened between the Green Bay Packers and Brett Favre when that relationship went south. Fans turned on the organization, then they turned on Favre, and then they turned on everyone else in their path. The Lakers simply didn’t want the backlash that getting rid of a franchise player with Kobe’s status would entail.
Vice president of basketball operations Jim Buss admits that Dwight Howard didn’t want to play with Kobe for an extended period of time.
“Dwight didn’t want to play with Kobe for 2-3 more years,” Buss said. “I’m going to stand behind Kobe because of his history with the franchise.”
With Dwight Howard attempting to lead the Lakers, the team managed a playoff spot but only by a slight margin. The Lakers were then swept under the rug in straight games by the San Antonio Spurs.
With Howard unable to mesh with his teammates, it was only a matter of time before he was sent packing.
Now Dwight Howard will help lead the Houston Rockets, one of the Lakers’ Western Conference rivals and one likely reason he was adamant on joining that particular franchise.
Dwight Howard has a lot to prove — if he fails in Houston, his naysayers win, and, if he succeeds, the Lakers front office look like a bunch of fools who held onto an aging and injury prone NBA legend whose playing days have nearly reached an inevitable conclusion.
Do you think Dwight Howard made the right decision in demanding his trade to the Houston Rockets?