Around The World (Wide Web): The Dwight Drama Returns

Ryan Cole —  May 21, 2013

From Dave McMenamin, ESPN LA: The Los Angeles Lakers do not yet know Dwight Howard’s decision for next season, but the All-Star center made his feelings about Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni known before starting his offseason. Nearly three weeks have passed since Howard had his exit interview with the Lakers and there’s been barely a peep out of Howard since. While he hasn’t had anything to say to the press, Howard had a lot to say to Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak back before the relative silence, however. Howard was one of several Lakers – Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol being the most noteworthy — to have an extended separate meeting with the GM after his exit interview with both Kupchak and D’Antoni, multiple sources confirmed to ESPNLosAngeles.com.

From Mark Heisler, Lakers Nation: Another one of those summers looms in Lakerdom.Rather than take the extra $30 million and jumping into the Lakers’ arms as a Hall of Fame wing of great centers had, Dwight Howard will check out other teams. It’s all preliminary. With Howard under contract through July 1, everything–visits, welcoming pageants, talks—is in the planning stage. In other words, this is the off-season’s preseason. Laker fans with enough brain cells left may remember that their last preseason didn’t go so well, what with all the injuries and the 0-8 record. Nor does the off-season’s preseason look like it will be much fun with Howard intent on touring the NBA. The likeliest outcome is still that he stays, after drawing it out as long as possible, raising hopes in as many cities as he can, and ultimately disappointing the maximum number of teams and fans possible.

From Drew Garrison, Silver Screen & Roll: Good for Dwight Howard. Dave McMenamin of ESPN has reported that Howard expressed “frustration” with Mike D’Antoni during his exit interview and all I can say is good for Dwight. That’s what an exit interview is for, right? To express what you think about the team’s direction, what you would like to see changed, and the future. Howard is in line to be the leader of the Los Angeles Lakers – should he accept that mission — and the front office should, without pause, “pop” the question to him.”Will you marry this coach for the next two seasons?” The problem for the Lakers front office is clear. Through a season filled with injuries and a “mid-season early-season” swap of Mikes, the story is the Lakers played well after the All-Star break. They got back on track and looked better than they did to open the season, which wasn’t a huge bar to clear. Howard’s health improved dramatically. They finally had both Steves. Pau Gasol eventually crept back into the lineup and helped cap off their strong finish. Things were in working shape

From Kurt Helin, Pro Basketball Talk: Kobe Bryant thinks this Lakers roster can work. Well, he at least thinks his chance at a much-coveted sixth ring is more likely if the Lakers bring back two of the top big men in the game, as opposed to having just one and restructuring the lineup to be closer to what Mike D’Antoni prefers. So Kobe took to twitter to say what he thinks the Lakers should do as they consider the future ofDwight Howard (a free agent, the Lakers will offer him a five-year max deal) and Pau Gasol.

From Ramona Shelburne, ESPN: The clip runs frequently on Time Warner Cable SportsNet, the Lakers channel in Los Angeles — the day after the Lakers pulled off the megatrade that brought Dwight Howard to Los Angeles, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak walks Howard through the team’s training facility and points at all the retired jerseys on the wall. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, Magic Johnson … the list goes on. In the foreground, you see some of the Lakers’ 16 championship trophies. Howard grins from ear to ear. Kupchak senses his excitement and turns to deliver a rather perfect line, ”That could be your jersey up on that wall in about 10 years.” The message is clear: All this can be yours.

Ryan Cole

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15 responses to Around The World (Wide Web): The Dwight Drama Returns

  1. I have to admit, all the noise would seem to make things official. If there were not some fire in the smoke signals going up, then Dwight Howard would be commenting about all these ‘untruths’ circulating about him.

    Now we know – Dwight Howard didn’t like how Mike D’Antoni communicated and felt he wasn’t properly listened to. Where have we heard this before? What happened when the organization listened to his complaints and acted to make him feel more comfortable? We Laker fans can’t say we weren’t warned about all this.

    I do not love all the things that have happened to and with the Laker organization over the last 3 years. However, I do not lay all the blame for mistakes at the feet of Jim Buss. The Lakers are moving into a transition period, whatever happens to the front office, whether or not Dwight signs with us. For better or worse I am supporting the Laker ownership and front office at this time – period. Having said that, I am interested in examining how we can move forward without Dwight Howard, because our course is much clearer if he signs with us – IMO.

  2. If Howard walks, 2014 is probably just simply a farewell tour for Kobe and Pau, with a caveat: Pau appears to dislike D’Antoni more than Howard does, so he may ask out, even if Howard is gone. Also, if Howard leaves, there is no reason to keep Nash, other than his history with MDA. If Howard leaves, I would ask Nash if he wants to go back to PHX or elsewhere and explore those options, if they exist.

    People who are complaining about Howard’s personality should take note of the fact that without him, Orlando crashed into the bottom of the lottery and is undergoing a full-scale rebuild. I think it is OK to say, “I would rather rebuild from the ground up with no guarantee of getting a star than root for Dwight Howard” but people who say that should acknowledge that there are no guarantees in that process, and that the Lakers have never really done it since the franchise moved to LA.

    For better or worse I am supporting the Laker ownership and front office at this time – period.

    I think it’s good that you acknowledged this directly, but you should realize that is an emotional position, rather than an analytical one.

  3. If Howard walks, then its time for the ESPN Trade Machine to get some burn…

    I personally don’t care one way or the other. As long as its best for the team in the medium to long term – and we get more championships before Kobe retires – then I’m good with or without Howard.

  4. Howard should examine his options. Nothing wrong with that.

    I’d like to think if he stays with the Lakers he’s happy with the choice, and satisfied with his due diligence.

    Don’t know if he’s mature enough to have that sort of thought process, but I guess we shall see, in due time.

  5. Because I choose to support the front office you say I made an emotional decision? In other words, there is no logical position other than the one you, rr, are taking? That sounds more like an emotional response than my decision to support the front office. Every year there are any number of options and the fans – any fans – are known to blow every which way. The organizations that succeed most often do not react to every new breeze by taking a new position. This organization has been much more deliberate than have most other NBA franchises. This organization has been much more successful than have most others. I choose to back this ‘horse’, even though I realize there is a possibility the horse could break down – there are no guarantees in sports.

  6. MannyP: If Dwight walked to Houston. Rockets would have 4 players Lin, Asik, Harden and Dwight for $65 mil for 2014-2015. Rockets probably would trade some players, maybe in a deal involving Dwight.

  7. “The organizations that succeed most often do not react to every new breeze by taking a new position.”

    Let’s see. Mike Brown was hired before all the coaches were interviewed.
    Reason? Jim Buss was worried that Mike Brown would take the Golden State job. Really?

    Mike Brown also gets dumped 8 games into the season. I cannot believe that Dr. Buss made the call. Sorry. That looks like a junior move. It makes no sense to hire a coach to teach the princeton offense, when there were already injuries, and dump it 8 games into the season. As much I did not like Brown, I thought he did a pretty good job against okc. There were 2 games we could have won, but it came down to some bad plays/luck.

    Hiring Mike D’Antoni – who could barely walk. Definitely could have taken more time with that one. At least wait till he can walk the floor, or at least interview other people.

    The PJ fiasco.

    There’s more. Gutting the scouting staff, getting rid of other key staff…His ridiculous comments about kobe (something along the lines that he can just look at kobe and know if he’s happy).

    If I’m DH, I’m looking at all of that.

    (But I would also be looking at what a horrible clutch-time coach McHale is. He is not good under pressure.)

  8. trianglefan,
    We can all put our own spin on what has happened over the last 3 years. You just happen to choose to place all the decisions solely at the feet of Jim Buss and I do not. Because of that I hope you can see why I might disagree with you.

  9. MannyP: Thanks for considering my feelings in the last thread with regard to the DH decision : ) If he walks, it is going to be on the list with “The Announcement”, “The Shaq Trade”, and “The Veto”. The fact that the Veto and DH walking would be so close together would be tough to recover from. We need to avoid DH walking at all costs. By the way if his agent adds a demand that Robert can’t attend any games – I will make that sacrifice. I expect all others (coaches, owners) on his demand list to do the same : )
    rr: “Pau appears to dislike D’Antoni more than Howard does” – That is perhaps true, so OK – DH does not like him, Pau does not like him, AJ can’t even be in the same room as him, he does not match our personnel, remind me again why – oh never mind : )
    Craig: It’s all good. The “horse” is the Laker Team, history, and Name. The players, coaches, and owners change over the years. Jerry Buss was the greatest owner in sports history. If you want to transfer that to Jim – then that is good. Some of us do not give him that credit. We can all still be avid Laker fans.
    trianglefan: You are depressing me with your accurate review of history. “fiasco” – well put

  10. Looking at the 4 teams left Memphis, Indiana, Spurs and Heat. They are TEAMS and play together. How do the Lakers get back to playing for one another? May sound harsh but Kobe’s injury may be a blessing in disguise. It could force him to tone it down and utilize his teammates more than he already does.

    Jim, Mitch, Mike’s, Kobe, Pau, Dwight and Nash are all to blame. Front office build an old roster and suffered the consequences. The coaches never got a hold of the team. The players never played for one another aside from a few games. They all tried to do something individually but never got it done together. All are at fault and everyone failed. Distribute your blame pie accordingly.

  11. In other words, there is no logical position other than the one you, rr, are taking?

    What position do you think I have taken? Basically, what you said is no differerent than saying, “Mike D’Antoni is a horrible coach and should be fired–period.”

    Nothing wrong with that, but if you are taking a position like that, you have made up your mind and are not interested in looking at the evidence, or at the gray areas, anymore. If you think the evidence is conclusive, fair enough–but you are saying that you don’t care about evidence much. You are simply backing the FO. My “position” is to try to look at the gray areas and the evidence as best I can and then draw a conclusion. Yours appears to be simply to support the FO based on faith, on their past track recored–even with the turnover in personnel.

    In the case of the MDA/Howard thing, yes, Howard appears to be immature and a PITA–but he would be a lot harder to replace than MDA would be. That is the kind of evidence that needs to be considered, even if people don’t like the idea of Howard’s making extra-contractual demands on the organization.

  12. there’s no spin. the only questionable attribution is Jim Buss’s purported reasoning for MB. That was pulled from an la times article – which cited an anonymous source.

    Junior had a role in firing MB – especially since he was allegedly his hire. A year-or-else approach doesn’t get you anything.

    I don’t think there’s much dispute about MDA and PJ. He was very much in support of MDA, and I don’t read anywhere that he was excited at all about PJ coming back.

    You can certainly argue if they were bad decisions – and complain about the “fans” and their lack of appreciation/knowledge of basketball, the lakers, etc.

    But that’s not the point. JB had significant roles in all of the aforementioned examples – more so than anyone else in the organization. Those were his decisions – and their manner of execution pretty much fit the “new breeze” criteria you laid out earlier.

  13. When was the last time Kobe has been more positive than Phil. I bet Kobe used to get the shorter end of the stick and he reacted in a selfish manner. Now Phil felt disrespected after the midnight call so he says stuff like “I don’t blame Mike for that – that’s the ownership or the management made that decision. That was the decision that they have to live with”. And “Would you, if you felt your game wasn’t going to be featured?” The same ownership that Dwight needs to trust with his future Phil is taking shots at. Could also mention him undermining D’Antoni texting Dwight during the season. Kind of a what you got versus what you could’ve had type of deal. Phil always seem to escape even a smidgen of criticism from Lakers fans. I bet none of his recent comments are helping Lakers efforts to convince Dwight to stay.

  14. Mitch came out and said that he and Dwight didnt talk about MDA at all on the exit interview , like i said in the other thread, this is somebody triying to create a controversy where there is none.

  15. Howard should know by 1 July if he wants to stay in LA, he will know the money, he will know most of his team mates, If he wants to go then fair enough he should look at other options. So it will be a good indication if this drags on for awhile that LA wasn’t his first choice. GIve him 2 weeks then let him walk.