For the Lakers, the “Dwightmare” isn’t over yet, at least completely.
In a report from ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne and Marc Stein, a key factor in Dwight Howard‘s decision to leave Los Angeles for Houston was an unclear timetable of the Kobe Bryant era:
[pullquote]”Sources told ESPN.com that Howard and his representatives — in a handful of meetings with Lakers officials before he became a free agent July 1 — strongly suggested the center would have a difficult time re-signing with Los Angeles if Bryant stayed with the franchise beyond the 2013-14 season, the final year of his contract.”[/pullquote]
It seems that Howard was always concerned about his power within the team, with one of their sources saying, “How can it be Kobe’s team and Dwight’s team? It was about the passing of the torch.”
Howard’s camp even reportedly quizzed Lakers’ management over the status of Bryant’s future on the roster and whether he would be amnestied:
[pullquote]”Sources said, Howard’s camp at one point asked the Lakers whether they were at least considering releasing Bryant through the league’s amnesty provision, since Bryant’s return date from Achilles tendon surgery remained in question.”[/pullquote]
There was much speculation regarding the relationship between Bryant and Howard, and this report doesn’t come to much of a surprise.
In 2004, the Lakers traded Shaquille O’Neal to the Miami Heat after it appeared he and Bryant could no longer coexist. If these new reports on Howard are true, this will be the second time the Lakers have chosen Bryant over a superstar center.
Last time they made the right choice, and I think a lot of Laker fans would agree that they did the right thing this time, too.
This was an article by Andrew Ross. You can follow him on Twitter here: @AJRoss94. Ross Pickering contributed to this article.