NBA

Dwight Howard Reportedly Wanted Mike D'Antoni, Kobe Bryant out of LA

BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 7: Dwight Howard #12 of the Los Angeles Lakers talks with teammate Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers against the Boston Celtics during the game on February 7, 2013 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistAugust 24, 2013

Superstar center Dwight Howard's time with the Los Angeles Lakers was short and tumultuous, but rumors regarding his time in purple and gold persist. The most recent among them, courtesy of Comcast's Ric Bucher, suggests that D12 wanted head coach Mike D'Antoni and face of the franchise Kobe Bryant out of the picture.

According to Bucher, the Lakers could have re-signed Howard rather than allowing him to agree to terms with the Houston Rockets, but they would have had to adhere to his demands. Not only did he want D'Antoni fired, but Howard wanted the Lakers to either amnesty Bryant, or control his verbal lashings toward Howard and others at the very least.

Bucher compared it to Bryant's situation in 2004 as he re-signed with the Lakers when the organization agreed to move on from head coach Phil Jackson, and trade center Shaquille O'Neal to the Miami Heat. The Lakers were unwilling to make the same concessions for Howard, though, and it doesn't come as a particularly big surprise.

While Howard is obviously one of the top players in the league, Bryant is an absolute legend. He is working his way back from a torn Achilles, and he is getting up there in age at 35, but vice president of basketball operations Jim Buss wasn't about to get rid of arguably the most popular player in team history.

"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."

Howard put up solid numbers in his only season with the Lakers, but the team disappointed by barely making the playoffs, and getting swept by the San Antonio Spurs in the first round. Howard was never able to mesh with the players and coaches that were already in place, so he wanted big change in exchange for staying in the City of Angels.

Those changes didn't come to fruition, and now Howard is in position to help lead one of the Lakers' Western Conference rivals, the Rockets, on a run toward the NBA championship.

 

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