During the Los Angeles Lakers' 107-97 loss to the Miami Heat on Sunday, the calm-mannered Steve Nash entered a verbal bout with Dwight Howard. This didn't happen on the sidelines or in the locker room; it happened on the court.
After months of underwhelming play and erratic effort, it's finally time for L.A. to put an end to the D12 saga.
Nash has achieved so much in his career, including two MVP awards, through hard work and the uncanny ability to make his teammates better. For some reason, that just isn't working with Howard.
According to Kevin Ding of The Orange County Register, Nash's frustrations are about more than just one play. Instead, Nash said Sunday that he has been growing more and more impatient with Howard's inconsistency:
We'd like to get him in the pick and roll more. I think that's how he was really good in Orlando. He'd pick and he'd dive and they'd swing and put it in to him, so he could get deeper catches and the help side has a more difficult time coming to him.
I don't know. It's been difficult really to get him into that game – running into pick and rolls, diving hard, looking for the ball. We really haven't found that rhythm from him yet.
Key phrase: from him. Howard.
No matter how talented he may be, D12 has proven to weigh down his team. Rather than leading an elite defense, Howard has consistently been involved in petty drama since arriving in Los Angeles.
It appears as if all of his negatives have carried over from Orlando.
Starting in Orlando
For those who have forgotten about Dwight Howard's time with the Orlando Magic, let me refresh your memories.
Howard requested a trade to the then-New Jersey Nets during December of 2011 (via the New York Daily News). With months of speculation in between, Howard again requested a trade in July of 2012 (via Yahoo! Sports).
And it doesn't end there.
Howard repeatedly clashed with head coach Stan Van Gundy. SVG later confirmed a report that Howard wanted him to be fired (via NBA.com).
D12 got his wish during the offseason, as Van Gundy and general manager Otis Smith were both fired (via Fox Sports). As previously alluded to, Howard responded by demanding a trade in July.
In December of 2012, Howard reflected on his time with Orlando in an interview with Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles.
I've had a chance to sit back and think about it and there are some things I could've done better. There are some things that could've been done better on both sides. But at the end of the day, we all learn some lessons and we've got to move forward.
For all he could have done better, the Magic are just as much in the wrong. After Howard led the team to the 2009 NBA Finals, the Magic failed to complement him with any elite talent.
Their top players during D12's tenure were Jameer Nelson, Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Richardson.
With that being said, Howard was far from an innocent party. He handled adversity in the worst possible way.
And the Magic won't forget that. Ever.
That's right. A 15-36 team has no interest in a center that's won the Defensive Player of the Year award three times.
Los Angeles is beginning to understand why.
Clashing with Kobe
It's getting difficult to count the number of times Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard have clashed on or off of the court. We're going to go with an estimation in the high teens.
It all started when D12 told Kobe to "chill" after the Lakers began the season at 1-4 (via ESPN Los Angeles).
Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News reported on New Year's Day that Kobe and D12 had a "heated exchange" after L.A. lost to the Philadelphia 76ers. Following the supposed incident, the two mocked the report with a staged fight photograph.
Take it as you may:
The mamba vs d12 !! It's on lol twitter.com/kobebryant/sta…— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) January 7, 2013
The two clashed again during a team meeting in late January (via ESPN Los Angeles).
If Howard can't co-exist with the face of the Lakers, it only makes sense that he'd leave in the offseason.
While it is clear that the Lakers possess the talent to achieve greatness, the chemistry just isn't there. Unless that changes in the near future, there is only one option remaining.
Give up on the D12 saga and see what you can get in return.