The #StayD12 Campaign To Keep Howard On The Lakers

Rey Moralde —  June 29, 2013

The Los Angeles Lakers are pulling out all the stops when it comes to keeping free agent center Dwight Howard. They even have the hashtag, #STAYD12, for this campaign.

The Lakers put up a banner at Staples Center. Then they highlighted Kobe Bryant’s quote about Dwight Howard. There were billboards for him (such as the one on Hollywood Blvd.). There was a photoshopped pic of the legendary Beverly Hills Hotel with Dwight Howard’s jersey on it. And then earlier today, there was this. It’s safe to say that there will be more of this to come.

What does FB&G think of this interesting courtship? Five of us each answer five questions about this.

Did it surprise you that the Lakers went on this route?

REY MORALDE: I am. This is unprecedented. The Lakers, while a very public sports franchise, usually have a quiet confidence in them when it comes to… negotiating with their own free agents. But then everything within the last season has been unprecedented itself with the excessive injuries and the Lakers being buried in the weight of their own expectations. Still, this is so weird to me.

ZEPHID: Absolutely not. At this point, it’s pretty clear that plans A through Y are to re-sign Dwight, and any edge they can get, I believe they will take. Whether it be the billboard, or any other crazy huge sign, the Lakers FO will put up anything that will serve as an attention grabber for people (especially Dwight). Perhaps some would want the Lakers to have an air of superiority when it comes to free agents, given the general expectation that all FA’s want to sign with the Lakers. However, I see no harm in making it clear (abundantly so) that the Lakers want Dwight back.

DAVE M.: Not at all although it would’ve been awesome if the BH hotel pic was not photoshopped. This isn’t about the purity of sports or shame or pandering or whatever some think it is. Wasn’t this franchise built on Showtime? As if management would actually not let their PR staff do the job they’re paid to do?

PHILLIP BARNETT: It did a bit. We’re not accustomed to the Lakers as an organization having to sell themselves to a particular player. With the roles reversed, it’s fascinating to see billboards in the city asking Howard to stay with the team despite the fact that it may seem like a calculated ploy to save face incase he leaves. As a fan, I appreciate the effort from the team as they’re, at the very least, making it seem like they’re doing everything they can to field a quality basketball team — but I am surprised that it had to come to this.

RYAN COLE: I am certainly surprised. All my life I’ve never really known the Lakers to be in a position where they seriously had to sell themselves, as well as the city of Los Angeles to a superstar. I must admit it was pretty strange to see the giant billboard riding Figueroa, but at this point, the priority of the franchise is to retain Dwight at all costs. If this is part of the plan, I like it, as opposed to some Laker fans.

Do you think the Lakers would’ve done this if their free agent was another player (ex. Chris Paul, Tim Duncan)?

REY: Nope. I don’t know of any other star that would want billboards, candies, and that kind of pampering from a team like that. I think if someone like CP3 and Duncan received that kind of treatment from the Lakers, they would be a little freaked out. I do understand this is necessary for someone like Dwight but it just doesn’t feel right coming from the 16-time champs. It’s like Friday night dinners at the Gilmores.

ZEPHID: I think so. It’s difficult to say because this type of tactic clearly plays to Dwight’s indecisive side, since I doubt someone as cutthroat as CP3 or as stoic as Duncan would be swayed by such a frivolous message. However, I have no doubt that if CP3 were a Laker, the FO would do anything and everything to keep him. If they felt a sign would help, I think they would have done it.

DAVE: Sure, depending on the star. You’ve got to tailor your approach. Dwight loves attention, you’ve got to play into making him feel wanted, and wanted by the right people. Personally, I’d put him in a room with Phil. He’s not going to be your coach but he could be a guy behind the curtain. Not that he’d want to stay behind the curtain. Phil likes attention, too. That brings up a whole other can of worms.

PHILLIP: I don’t think so. Howard is one of those guys who seems like he has a need to be needed. He’s shown before that he can be fickle in his decisions, and he can be leaning toward one team today, another tomorrow. If Howard wants to be wooed, the Lakers have to woo him. I don’t think this would have been necessary for other guys, however. Most superstars want to know that you’re going to pay them and build a quality team around them, for Howard, it’s a bit more complicated.

RYAN: I do not, but this is what comes with the territory in trying to retain a superstar like Dwight Howard. He needs to feel wanted not only by the Lakers, but by the city of Los Angeles. Dwight’s image has taken a huge hit in the public eye over the last year, so to assure him that he is wanted is the smartest thing to do.

How would you feel if Dwight Howard ended up leaving the Lakers?

REY: I wouldn’t feel too sad about it. The guy carried baggage from Orlando and it’s tough to be a fan of someone that acted so petulantly. However, I know what Dwight brings to the table when healthy and if he did leave, I would only think of all the what-if scenarios. What if he actually just agreed to be the roll man for the pick and roll? What if he just accepted his role as the #2 guy until Kobe Bryant retired?

ZEPHID: Resigned. As in accepting our fate, not as in re-sign (pet peeve). Without a doubt, Dwight leaving would be the end of the short-term Lakers’ championship window. No way a team with an aging Pau, Nash, and Kobe can compete for a title. But is it the end of the world? Certainly not, because the Laker machine will keep on churning no matter what happens. Some have openly talked about tanking to hit the 2014 lottery (shoutouts to @DrewGarrisonSBN and @brosales12 at SS&R), which in my mind isn’t the WORST idea, but I think it’s a tough one to swallow for those who value winning and effort. However, if Dwight does leave, I see the Lakers FO blowing up the roster, trading Pau and Nash for youth and hopefully picks, making the roster so shallow on talent that it wouldn’t have to tank to get a high lottery pick. Given everyone’s general excitement for the 2014 draft and the ability to go after a big time free agent (like LeBron or Melo), this would be the easiest way to rebuild quickly. However, the only flaw in this plan is it effectively cuts off Kobe’s last chance to get a championship, and it’s difficult to see the Lakers FO abandoning that possibility after all Kobe has done for the team.

DAVE: I’d be disappointed but I’m not sure it’s the end of the world. If anything the past year should show us that. The team needs a system and a direction they can all buy into. Plus overall health. I’m not sure there’s any single element more important than that. Mitch has been finding ways to field teams through challenging circumstances for a few years now. Regardless of the cap, I don’t see him throwing up a white flag and tanking a season. Same goes for Kobe, naturally.

PHILLIP: Conflicted. During his short tenure in Los Angeles, Howard has never felt like a member of the Lakers to me. While I understand that these sort of things typically take time with new members of the organization, it hadn’t taken a full season for me to buy into other free agent pick-ups or guys brought in via trade. Pau immediately felt like a Laker when he was brought in. Same with Ron, Steve Blake and, to an lesser extent, Nash. Howard had this summer hanging over the season like a rain cloud and the Forum Blue and Gold he wore seemed akin to a mirage.

RYAN: From a basketball standpoint, I’d feel sorry for the Lakers next season. Dwight leaving would certainly put the stamp on a lost season, especially with the uncertainty of Kobe’s return date. From a personal standpoint, I’d be understanding of Dwight’s decision and have no ill feelings against him. He has the right to leave being that he is a free agent. He’s not entitled to the Lakers, and should not feel as if he is. The city of Los Angeles is not for everyone, as well as the pressures that come with having to perform in a Laker uniform.

How would you feel if Dwight ended up re-signing?

REY: Hooray, I guess. Again, I would still have my reservations because Dwight can be so wishy-washy. Even if he signed that full five-year max deal, I would wonder how long before he would become unhappy again. But I do think Dwight is a guy that can keep the Lakers on top even if most of the team is approaching Methuselah’s age; at his peak, he can defensively dominate a game.

ZEPHID: Curious. Dwight is definitely the big piece, but a team of Dwight, an aging Pau, Nash, and Kobe is still only an outside shot at winning a championship. It would be after this coming season, in Summer 2014, that things get interesting, as only Nash and Howard (should he re-sign) would be under contract as of now, leaving plenty of cap space to pursue the aforementioned superstars. Without a superstar to flank Howard, the Lakers would then become a lesser version of the 2009 Orlando Magic, which would be a surefire way to tread water but never attain a championship. So pretty much, regardless of what Dwight does, it will be Summer 2014 that will shape the destiny of the Lakers in the years to come.

DAVE: I would be good with it but I also want him to be good with the coach because I don’t think that position changes this year.

PHILLIP: On the flip side to my previous answer, I know bringing Howard back would be in the best interest of the team in terms of on the court play. What he does on either side of the floor simply won’t be replaced by any other (available) person in the NBA, and that’s a tough pill to swallow considering Kobe’s championship window, which is closing at an alarming rate. I wouldn’t be jumping for joy with Howard coming back, but it would give me peace of mind that at least part of Mitch and Jim’s plan for the future is in place.

RYAN: I think Howard re-signing ensures that the Lakers will have a franchise player moving forward, so in that aspect I’d be happy for the franchise. Howard is by far the best center in basketball and there are so many things that Dwight does on the basketball court that simply can’t be replicated, so it’s obvious why the Lakers are taking such measures to convince him to stay. Personally, I’m not the guy that’s going to go running through the streets leaping for joy if he stays, but I’ll be content with knowing that the future of the Lakers is in tact.

In one word, what do you think of the #StayD12 campaign overall?

REY: Tacky.

ZEPHID: Fluffy.

DAVE: Searching.

PHILLIP: Bizarre.

RYAN: Brilliant.

Rey Moralde

Posts

54 responses to The #StayD12 Campaign To Keep Howard On The Lakers

  1. TempleofJamesWorthy June 29, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    IF (I repeat, IF) the Chris Broussard report and other anonymous “source” reports are true, then the Lakers should let Dwight go. Sign-and-trade if you can, but get rid of him.

    The core of DH12 complaints about being a Laker seem to be:

    1) He doesn’t like Coach D’Antoni — Translation: “I don’t get to post up often enough”

    Well, sorry Dwight, but your post-up “game” just ISN’T GOOD ENOUGH for you to be whining about getting more post touches (check out the point-per-possession stats when he posts up).

    2) He doesn’t like playing with Kobe — Translation: “If we win, I won’t get the credit”

    Hey, we get that. Kobe has been that way almost since he joined the Lakers. But he had the game to back it up. Dwight doesn’t.

    If that’s the way Dwight is going to be, then the Lakers should let some other team try to fulfill Dwight’s “I’ll win a championship by posting up and getting all the credit” delusion.

    Yes, I’d like a player of DH12’s talent to be a Laker, but if that means sabotaging what’s best for the team to feed his ego, then fuggetaboudit.

  2. TOJW,

    Cut Howard a little slack. Look around the league. The only franchise-type players without a diva streak are Tim Duncan and Kevin Durant. Duncan is old. And the Lakers aren’t getting Durant. So any truly top flight player the Lakers bring in will have some diva-sh quirks about him. Star players have egos. Look across the hall at Chris Paul playing GM behind the scenes.

    It doesn’t mean the Lakers should sell their souls for a free agent. But they have to actively court they players they want. And only a fool of a GM wouldn’t want Dwight Howard.

  3. Will Mitch commit to telling Dwight bedtime stories too? Maybe tuck him in at night? Or send over Laker girl to tuck him in? (Bad idea on the latter, considering DH knocked up a Magic dancer back in the day.)

    How much can/should this guy be coddled? I get that the team will be awful next season if he leaves. But I just can’t root for this guy.

    (And yes, rr, spare me the forthcoming lecture on “emotion” and “facts.” I can’t stand Howard, emotionally or factually, and want to see him gone. I’d rather be a lottery team next year than see him and his childish behavior return.)

  4. It surprised me a little, but I think it’s smart. The Lakers mystique isn’t shining too bright right now, we have a new regime, and our direction isn’t clear. Better to start hitting the PR early rather than whiffing in free agency for 2-3 years while we sit back and pretend free agents should flock to us and kiss the championship banners, and only after 3 years realize we were slow to adapt.

    It’s fairly telling that few people will be outright jumping for joy if Howard re-signs. It’s in the best interest of the franchise basketball-wise, and so many/most of us would prefer he sticks around, but you don’t see the unbridled passion you normally see from a fan base for a star. With all that said, winning cures everything.

  5. ” I’d rather be a lottery team next year than see him and his childish behavior return” Sounds like many fans talking about Kobe in 2005

  6. Robert — maybe so, but for what it’s worth I was not among those at the time. I had felt Shaq deserved to be top dog in their early years, but by 2004 when the time to choose one had come, Buss clearly made the right call in keeping the younger star.

    The difference between Howard and Kobe, to me, was that no matter what else was going on — locker room spats, injuries, rape trials or contract questions — Kobe almost always left 100 percent on the floor.

  7. (And yes, rr, spare me the forthcoming lecture on “emotion” and “facts.)

    There was nothing to point to in that regard here, since in this post you are just going on pure, angry emotion and owning it. You are flat-out saying that you would rather have the team suck than have Dwight Howard on it. I think that is very strange, unless you work for the Lakers and would have to deal with Howard every day or something, but to each his own. Like I said, what bothers me is when people dress up, “I don’t want him and I don’t like him” in faux-analysis.

    Robert makes a good point about Kobe, and I would add to that the 2007-8 sequence when Kobe got word that the FO had refused to trade Bynum for Jason Kidd, and blew up about it, and someone recorded Kobe saying something like “Get his (Bynum’s) a-s out of here” with a cell phone. Kobe then met with Mitch and talked openly about wanting out. Jerry Buss supposedly said at the time that you don’t trade the Hope Diamond for smaller stones, and while Howard may not be the Hope Diamond, he is at worst a very large emerald or sapphire. You don’t throw a gem like that away because you don’t like the way it looks from certain angles.

  8. Did it surprise you that the Lakers went on this route?

    P. Ami- Surprised, yes but when I think of other ways the Lakers have gone out of their way in making their players feel wanted, I think this actually suits the team. Jerry Buss gave Magic an unprecedented 25 yr, $25 million dollar contract. West risked most everything to clear room to be able to offer Shaq all the money available. The various parties Jerry Buss took players to, the connections they helped to provide ambitious Lakers players, getting rid of Shaq to keep Kobe… The Lakers know what side the bread is buttered on.

    Do you think the Lakers would’ve done this if their free agent was another player (ex. Chris Paul, Tim Duncan)?

    P. Ami- No, I think every player has their own comfort level and desires. I think the Lakers managed to assess Dwight’s personality and are doing what they think gives them the best chance to get him to sign on.

    How would you feel if Dwight Howard ended up leaving the Lakers?

    Conflicted. I think Dwight is a rare talent and his presence in the middle gives us the best chance to rebuild quickly. I would also worry that the Lakers would refuse to see his moving to another team as a signal to rebuild, which to me is the most sensible next step for building a team with a chance to be great for a decade. There are a lot of balls in the air at the moment, Kobe’s injury, Nash’s decline, Gasol’s role on the team and his trade value, and of course Dwight’s FA. Add to that that even with the depth and talent of the FA class in 2014, I have my doubts that LeBron will come, or that guys like Melo are a good avenue to pursue. There are things to be said for starting over if Dwight moves on.

    How would you feel if Dwight ended up re-signing?

    That one is hard to call. Unlike others, I do feel like Dwight is a part of the team… more so then Steve Nash. He played more games, had a greater impact, and I felt like he was the one player who gave us a chance in spite of all the issues we faced. A healthy Dwight changes the dimensions of the court. The only issue I have with the guy is that his sense of humor is corny and I think it irritates his teammates. That said, I am more interested in results on the court, and his teammates are all professionals. So, I don’t have any substantial issues with retaining Dwight. He is a beast.

    In one word, what do you think of the #StayD12 campaign overall?

    P. Ami- Effective (I hope)

  9. Off-topic, but … It’s hard to judge the FO’s draft-wise in recent years because we’ve had nothing substantial to work with. (I think statistics show that a pick in the 20’s has something like a 25% chance of being in the league in 5 years, so you can imagine the probability for mid to late 2nd rounders.)

    With that said … if Dwight were to leave and we were to commit to building through the draft, I’d like to see us fortify our FO where possible. While big market teams may be limited in player spending due to the repeater tax and a harsher luxury penalty, no such penalties are incurred for spending big on coaches and front office personnel (SSnR had an article a while back hinting at this with training staffs). If you’re going to throw money around, investing in an elite FO seems like it would yield a high return. This is not in any way meant as a vote of no-confidence in Mitch, who I think is one of the better GMs in the league. But if you were to strengthen the scouts and team he has around him, his draft record could potentially improve.

    Kevin Pritchard in Indiana intrigues me for such a role. His draft record is strong, and I think he suffered unnecessary backlash due to his ego/handling of the media in Portland (and the subsequent clash with Paul Allen), as well as the Oden pick to some degree. It still amazes me that he’s not a head GM somewhere. But if he’s going to play assistant in Indiana, why not play assistant in LA with a bigger contract? Recruiting along those lines would be a smart idea if we were to obtain draft picks and make building through the draft our primary plan.

    Glenn Carraro’s track record in the D-League was impressive, but all I’m saying is that the team should use every resource at their disposal and exhaust all possibilities in the name of improvement, not just hanging new billboards.

  10. Kobe almost always left 100 percent on the floor.

    ____

    I don’t see any reason to believe that Howard doesn’t. He played through the back injury and he worked harder on D this past year than Kobe did.

  11. I liked the post and the guys’ opinions, but I also think people are over-analyzing the STAYD12 thing. It will not be a game-changer, but it is harmless and would seem to be a good move, given Howard’s personality.

  12. I don’t think any fan wants Dwight to leave or would be angry if he did because he’s a free agent, it’s his choice. Unlike Doc Rivers, Kobe asking for a trade or his situation in Orlando he’s not under contract. What has me confused is his reasoning? What’s out there is manly about D’Antoni and Kobe. If this is true to leave a coach who wants to run something similar to the team he would likely go to doesn’t make sense. And to leave a ball dominate guard who possessions mostly end in shots to join one who’s possessions mostly end in shots and ft’s doesn’t make sense either. Just say outright you want more shots, that’s basically what it comes down too. Frustration that everyone who’s played with Kobe had watching him launch tough mid range shots over and over again.

  13. Given the rumors of Bledsoe involved with deals to Orlando and Toronto – does that mean the other rumors of Howard playing with Paul on the Clippers is off?

    Not that I could really see a trade between the LA teams happening but the only way the Lakers would entertain such a move is if Bledsoe were coming back.

  14. ESPN 5/5 about Dwight, with Darius as a panelist:

    http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/page/5-on-5-130628/nba-best-spot-dwight-howard

    Note to Craig: all five guys, including Darius, explain what Houston has to offer.

  15. Here are McMenamin’s and Darius’ answers to the “Should the Lakers get rid of MDA?” question:

    McMenamin: I truly believe replacing D’Antoni with Jackson will greatly enhance the Lakers’ chances of keeping Howard. If the Lakers really want Dwight as much as they say they do, this is the move they make. Now, Jackson has indicated he isn’t interested in coaching again, but I’m pretty sure his fiancée, Lakers exec Jeanie Buss, can be persuasive in changing that stance.

    Soriano: Not right now. D’Antoni hasn’t endeared himself to Lakers fans, but he’s also not as bad a coach as he’s portrayed. Give him next season to try to build on the team’s hot second half, and if he can’t show positive strides, the Lakers can begin anew in 2014 with a rebuilt team and a new coach.

  16. ESPN reporting that Houston is meeting with Howard on Monday here in LA; Cuban, Dirk and Co coming to town Tuesday.

  17. Al –

    The Lakers would not entertain a Howard deal to the Clippers without Griffin coming back. It’s the Clippers who would’t make the move.

    BTW, I
    think the Clippers sealed the Paul resigning problem when they got Rivers. For them Howard is a ‘nice to have’ an not a ‘need to have’.

  18. ESPNSteinLine Marc Stein
    Rockets planning strong contingent to recruit Dwight that is said to include Hakeem, James Harden along w/Kevin McHale & team officials

  19. Dwight hasn’t won anything for the Lakers so I really don’t think it will be the end of the world if he leaves. Comparing this to Kobe 2004 is apples to oranges. In this situation the older player (Kobe) isn’t fighting management for an extension that isn’t coming. In fact the older player is joining in the campaign to keep the younger player. Also, in this situation you have DH who hasn’t won anything for this team meanwhile in 2004 Kobe was already a 3 time (Lakers) NBA champion. With regards to the #StayD12 Campaign, its surreal for me. The entire Basketball World knows that Howard wanted to go to Brooklyn. He opted back in with Orlando and that’s why we have all of this stretched out drama. No choice he makes now will be ideal. I for one don’t believe any of these reasons why he doesn’t want to stay in LA. He/his camp is/are just making them up. I feel bad for him because he cant have what he truly wants and he cant blame anyone but himself. 

  20. TempleofJamesWorthy June 29, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    Let me be clear.

    If DH12 wants Kupchack to bring him warm milk and cookies and tuck him into bed at night, fine!

    If he wants the Lakers marketing campaigns for the next 5 years to exclusively feature his face, fine!

    But if Howard wants to win a championship only if he gets enough post touches on offense, then [bleep] him and the horse he rode in on.

    You don’t win championships with guys who are about “my touches”, “my shots”, “my credit”, etc. You win championships who are willing to do whatever it takes.

    Just look at this year’s Heat. Shane Battier was willing to battle much larger power forwards…because it made the team better to have his three-point shooting spreading the floor on offense. Chris Bosh took only five shots (missed them all) and grabbed only seven rebounds in Game 7 of the Finals. But he played his heart out on defense, and now he’s a two-time NBA champion.

    That’s the center of my antipathy towards Dwight Howard. IF (I repeat, IF) the media reports are accurate, then he’s focused on his personal glory, not team success. If that’s the case, then let him sabotage some other team.

  21. rr – thanks for posting the espn 5/5 link. It’s a really good piece. Interesting take by McMen about coaching.

  22. I am just hoping he gets the heck out of LA. He is no Laker and possibly the most overrated player in Basketball. Lakers will need to rebuild either way whether he stays or not. They don’t need to rebuild around a crybaby.

  23. “Shortly after NBA free agency commences in the wee hours Sunday morning…The Rockets plan to send general manager Daryl Morey, coach Kevin McHale, owner Les Alexander, Olajuwon and Rockets James Harden and Chandler Parsons to recruit Howard, the source said.”

    Meanwhile the Laker fan base debates whether they want him, and our FO clearly wants him, but does not know how to get him.

    http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/nba/story/_/id/9436774/dwight-howard-houston-rockets-meet-los-angeles-source-says

  24. Dave,

    Indeed. McMenamin is not a sensationalist and has some access, so I thought it was interesting that he said that. Kinda guessing that his source there is Jeannie…

  25. That’s the center of my antipathy towards Dwight Howard. IF (I repeat, IF) the media reports are accurate, then he’s focused on his personal glory, not team success

    People have said that about Kobe Bryant for his entire career. You win in the NBA with talent and good leadership guiding and assembling it. When the Lakers have had the talent/leadership and Kobe has been on the team, they have won, regardless of his shot selection, his “decision-making” as the True Hoop boys like to call it, and his attitude.

    So, whatever personal flaws Howard may have, his talent will increase the Lakers’ chances of winning rather substantially if he is on the team.

  26. Joe

    I find it curious that people talk about Dwight leading NBA in rebounds yet forget to mention other things he lead league in.
    1- Most TO’s by a center.
    2-Most goal tends
    3-Most missed free throws.

    Add in that after 9 years and he still dosen’t have one signature post move. Sure he is a good player but to me clearly not a franchise player that the team needs to beg to come back.

    Can’t imagine Jerry West or Dr. Buss approving of “Dwight Board”

  27. rr,
    My position is more complex than that format allows, but that is the short hand version of my take on MDA. I think coaches deserve a chance to succeed or fail and I’m not sure D’Antoni has gotten that chance yet. He’s shown some positives and has clearly shown some negatives. The question is whether he’s able to continue his flexibility and find a formula that fits for this roster. And I mean that in terms of X’s and O’s and in terms of communication that gets players on board with a consistent vision. I think training camp can help with that, but there are real questions about whether or not he has it in him to get it done. But I do believe he should get a chance to try.

  28. Kupchack did not allow MDA to hire assistants yet (Yahoo sports), this is the last move FO can give Howard if he will say he won’t play in MDA system. I couldn’t believe myself, one of the best NBA organization had to put up a billboard asking Howard to stay, and now the coach can’t hire assistants because of one player can’t shoot free throw, can’t have low-post game. Where is the proud of this organization ? They did not treat Shaq or KObe this way, it’s unbelievable.

  29. Keno,

    One more time:

    Since the All-Star break the Lakers give up an average of 100.4 points per 100 possessions when Howard is their anchor, but an atrocious 115.8 when he’s off the court.

    That was written on April 4 by Drew Garrison at SSR; it pretty much ends the discussion of whether the Lakers need Howard. The impact on team defense is not as visible as missing free throws or turning the ball over, which is one reason, along with the white-hot emotions, that a large subset of the fan base underrates Howard. If Howard were no big deal, Mark Cuban, Daryl Morey, Dirk Nowitzki, and Hakeem Olajuwon would not be getting on private jets to come to LA tomorrow.

    As to Jerry West, he was quoted at the time that Shaq came as saying that you do whatever you have to do to land superstars. Howard isn’t Shaq, but there is nothing wrong with a few billboards.

  30. Darius,

    I would have much less of a quibble with that if Howard were either

    a) Already gone
    or
    b) Already under contract for another three years

    As it is, however, I don’t see what D’Antoni brings that you would want to keep him if it means a much greater chance of losing Howard. Of course, we don’t know for sure that is what is going on, but it certainly does appear that way at this point.

    Also, I don’t really agree with the idea that you keep MDA now and then can him after next year if 2014 does not go well. ISTM that if you think enough of D’Antoni to keep him during the maelstrom of Dwight Howard’s free agency and possible departure, then you keep him for the duration of his deal and give him a big say in how you try to restock the roster in 2014-2015. If Howard walks, next year’s team will either be a last call tour for Kobe/Pau + Nash, Kobe and the D-Fenders coming to an arena near you, or an historic tank job–and in any of those scenarios, we have no idea when Kobe will be back or how effective he will be when he returns. None of those is an easy situation for a coach, even with a full training camp.

    And even if Howard stays, there are a ton of roster issues and little money with which to attack them.

  31. If you want to win a championship you best have LeBron James on the roster. If the Lakers don’t have Dwight they can basically kiss LeBron goodbye.

  32. Oh… And as always my take on coaches is this… They basically almost always don’t matter. The players matter.

  33. Lebron aint coming to LA and i dont want him here. A couple of thoughts first of all i find extremely convenient that PJ has kinda tightened ties with the club as the Howard situation comes to a head hmmm strange. Second people complaining about the team “lack” of direction the team had a direction and Stern intervened with it, we probably would had Paul and Howard teamed up here and not going anywhere, even with that mess and the Dwightmare III the team is primed for a 2014 major overhaul, how is that not having direction? Compare our situation with the Celtics, who are the one posed to rebuild faster? Us or the Celtics with their fire sale, even Rondo isnt safe and he probably will be dealt too, about Dwight if he want to leave screw him this is the chance if a lifetime if he wants to go and hide behind Harden’s beard so be it Shaq would be proven right, do not s&t and just keep the cap space. And lastly nobody can tell me that our remaining core healthy isnt a playoff team and with the giant albino gorilla KB will have on his shoulder and Nash and Gasol healthy and some luck we could have a deep “last hurrah” playoff run. I just dont see why the panic. The team will be fine regardless is Dwight the one that would be exposed as a coward and a quitter. Shaq ould have a field dau for the rest if his career.

  34. So Aaron based on your premise, MDA could be the coach 20 years if he wants to because coaches dont matter. So i guess coaches like Pop, Thib,PJ,Riley and Doc are just figuredheads and the players get all the credit. If there is something that was painfully obvious last season is that no matter what personnel you have you need the right coach with the right aproach.

  35. “Of course, we don’t know for sure that is what is going on”

    This is correct, we don’t know. So while there is innuendo and reports from “sources” about how Dwight feels about the coach, nothing is known. Even McMenamin’s premise is “this is what I believe.” I don’t necessarily disagree with Dave’s premise, but your statement that we don’t know is correct.

    “I don’t really agree with the idea that you keep MDA now and then can him after next year if 2014 does not go well.”

    I specifically said that I believe in allowing coaches to succeed or fail. When talking about next season it’s within the context of whether he shows enough to remain on considering the circumstances. I believe the term I used was “positive strides”. If those aren’t made, I’d be fine if he was let go.

    Based off your comment, it seems like you’re saying that the circumstances he’s been in have been so trying that you wouldn’t agree with him being fired regardless of how things go. Needless to say, I don’t agree with that.

  36. Sigh just fire Mike already FO.

  37. “we don’t know for sure that is what is going on” We all agree that we don’t know what we don’t know. However the Lakers must act and in this case, not acting is an action. It is not a question of what is fair or politically correct, the hiring process was not fair either. It is a question of what is best for the team. It is a matter of opinion. However either way it is making a decision with incomplete information. This discussion matters not to those who don’t want DH, but for those of us who do (rr and Darius included), it comes down to what is the best way to accomplish that. At this point, it could be a moot point anyway. If we fired MD now, it would definitely look like we were doing so specifically for DH, and he would not like that. The time to act was right after the season as some of us irrational people were stating at the time. This is what the Clips did and they are in a better position with Paul than we are with DH (and at one time that was not the case).

  38. Keno,

    Dwight also led the league if FG%.
    Regarding TO, Dwight had less TO per game then Pierce and Harden. Take into account that a large number of his high turnover games came early in the season. Perhaps you can understand that getting used to a new system and new team might make a man more TO prone. Also, take into account that his back hadn’t healed enough for him to have the strength to bring the ball up from waist high to his over his head. He was getting stripped down low on his dribble through the lane. That was all due to his back and that problem went away as his back issues improved. I still think Dwight would do better to keep the ball over his head more and to use his legs when fighting for position. He relies on his upper-body for certain actions that he would be better off relying on his legs for (perhaps this is why his outside shot isn’t what it could be, could be why he hurt his back… Can’t say for sure but it makes sense).

    A healthy Dwight Howard is the 3rd most important player in the league. The way he effects a team’s defense and his reliable offense is a cornerstone that all but 2 teams would love to have a chance to build around (and those two teams would likely gut their team if they could, to team Dwight up with their current cornerstone). I just don’t think there is an argument to be made that you understand Dwight’s influence on an NBA game better then some of the best front offices in the league (LAL, DAL, HOU all qualify as fantastic front offices).

    I get that Dwight is not a likable guy. He is corny, childish and seems to be insulting our franchise. Don’t let that cloud your ability to see how important a piece he can be for our team and how uncertain our future will be if he leaves.

  39. The Zen Master is turn it in on on Dwight!!!! @dwighthoward “i’m going up to the country going to paint my mailbox blue.” While i’m there I expect to see you get on board
    tis ur place

  40. P Ami.: I don’t see Dwight as being a top 5 player based on last year. A handful of guys maybe more had better years than him: LeBron, Durant, Melo, Westbrook, Paul, Parker. I’ll stop there but I’m tempted to throw in Lopez, Curry and George based on their playoff performances. I think Dwight is in prove it mode. He has no reliable offense mainly because he doesn’t play the whole 24 seconds. Took too many plays off last year on offense. He’s definitely an important piece but the way he’s being pursued makes one think Houston are locks for the wcf if he joins them.

  41. Kevin ummm back surgey helloo?

  42. So while there is innuendo and reports from “sources” about how Dwight feels about the coach, nothing is known.

    True, but there is quite a bit of “innuendo” on one side of the question, and basically none on the other, as Robert has pointed out. And while games were being played and we could watch and listen to Howard for ourselves, he did not appear to be happy. It seems unlikely that Broussard’s, McMenamin’s et al sources are all wrong, and Howard actually really likes D’Antoni.

    I see the problem with your plan to give MDA another year and then looking at him again as being that whatever happens, it is quite likely that the 2015 team will be very different than the 2014 team. MDA will not be able to get his kind of roster together this year, with or without Howard.

    And, of course, “positive strides” is kind of an elastic term. Suppose that:

    Howard walks
    Kobe doesn’t play until after the ASB
    Nash and Pau both miss about 30-40% of the schedule

    How would you measure positive strides in that context? That team is going to be losing a lot of games no matter what MDA is doing, and what kind of work he did in camp.

    Robert,

    It was a little easier for the Clippers, in that Del Negro’s deal was up, and Del Negro is generally thought of as a clown. Also, recall that there was blowback at Paul even with VDN getting canned right after the season, and everyone pretty much assumes that Paul was the driving force behind th Rivers hire.

    So, a D’Antoni firing would land on Howard on the internet and in the media no matter when it happened. You are correct however that he might “not like it” if they did it next week.

    Basically, I expect that if Howard is as down on the Lakers as people say, it’s just a combination of all the factors–D’Antoni, feeling isolated from the old guys, not enjoying playing with Kobe, the roster situation, not trusting the leadership, and not feeling like the fans are behind him.

  43. He’s definitely an important piece but the way he’s being pursued makes one think Houston are locks for the wcf if he joins them.

    Right now the West is 3 tiers

    SA OKC MEM LAC
    DEN GS HOU LAL UTA
    LOTTERY TEAMS

    What Howard would do is put Houston in the Top Tier, with room to grow, and the combo of him and Harden, along with Parsons, makes them a legit contender for the next 3-4 seasons. It doesn’t guarantee them anything, but it greatly improves their chances.

    And what it does to the Lakers is that while they still might be a decent team in 2014, they will not contend, they would have literally no projectible high-level talent going forward. Yes, they will have money, but that guarantees nothing. The best FAs next year are James and guys like your hero, Wall, who are restricted.

    People who don’t want Howard should just imagine that the Bynum/Howard deal never happened, and that the Lakers had slogged through last year with Pau and Sacre at center. That team probably would have gone about 38-44, had one of the worst 2 or 3 defenses in the league, and would have missed postseason. Then, imagine that the Lakers had the cap space to sign Howard, that they were on his short list, and that Kupchak was flying out to Orlando to meet with him tomorrow. There would be a few stubborn types holding out, saying that he was childish and a loser etc, but I am quite sure that about 90% of the fanbase would be really hoping that he came here. And that is how it should be now.

  44. P Ami.: I don’t see Dwight as being a top 5 player based on last year

    __________________

    Even if you’re right, it doesn’t matter. He is at worst a top 15-20 guy who anchors the defense, and the Lakers have no better options that are realistically on their radar.

    The only substantive argument against Howard is that you don’t want to give a contract of that size to a guy who has had major back surgery, but Mark Cuban, Daryl Morey, and an organization that listens to Jerry West (Golden State is also visiting Howard this week, along with Atlanta, before the Lakers talk to him) all seem willing to take that chance.

  45. rr: You are using logic. It does not apply here. First we are going to sign Paul at vet min, then Kobe is going to make a phenomenal recovery and sign for $5 million per for three years, then in 2014, LeBron will sign with us as a FA in spite of the fact that he will be coming off a threepeat. So why are you worried about DH?

  46. Do I want the Lakers to suck? Of course not. That’s like asking someone if they’d like to skip dinner, after they’ve already missed lunch.

    You still want to eat. But you may not be so hungry yet that you don’t care to forsake a preference in what that dinner might entail.

    Yes, my dislike of Howard is based more on emotion than fact. I could toss out facts that lead me to dislike him, but there are other facts that suggest why he should stay. I get that.

    The bottom line is this, to me, is about taste. I don’t like Howard’s non-committal nature. I don’t like how he dealt with Orlando and its fans, the organization, or its other players. I do not enjoy watching Dwight play offense, miss free throws or complain about his role in the system. Do I have a better option to suggest if he leaves? Not immediately, no.
    But again, it’s about likability — if all we cared about was winning, we’d all have dropped the Lakers and become Heat fans. There has to be a connection beyond just wins, and personally speaking I just don’t enjoy watching the Lakers with Dwight.

    As Snoopy wrote, winning cures all. Maybe someday Dwight will win me over. But for now, I just do not like the guy and would rather see the team look elsewhere, to someone who wants to love L.A. back and wants to be part of the Lakers tradition. Dwight hasn’t shown that, ever, and that’s what’s missing.

  47. rr: all I’m doing is analyzing Dwight’s game from what I saw last year. Same thing I’ve done with Kobe, Pau, Ron and every laker all year. When Kobe shoots the Lakers out of games I tell it. When Pau is getting destroyed in the paint, I say so. Nowhere in there did I take the stance I didn’t want Dwight to choose the Lakers, like I did right after the season because of fanatic emotion. And it’s hard to separate most fan’s emotion for his lifelong team from level headed analysis because i’m a fan first not a writer first, so I live in the moment. That’s all gone and of course I want the Lakers to succeed in the near future. They have a better chance of doing that with Dwight. I’m saying he wasn’t a top 5 player this year and that’s not arguable. And you proved me right by saying he’s at worst top 15, but I wouldn’t go that far. I’ll keep a hard stance on him plateauing as a player until he proves otherwise and that he’s a caner until he proves otherwise.

    As far as him affecting the Lakers chances he does to some extent, but as long as Nash and Kobe are playing 30+ minutes without a great defensive structure Lakers aren’t going anywhere.

  48. rr,
    Over the year you’ve argued that MDA had plusses and minuses and that when guys tried to bury him for only being bad you defended him. One of the reasons you did so was because of the circumstances he faced and the context of the season. When you ask “How would you measure positive strides in that context?”, it’s basically the same thing you’ve done this past season but with more information on our side to inform a decision. If everything goes the way your scenario does, you look for him to maximize the players on the roster, you look for growth in the way he communicates with players, you look for how the team responds to him, and a slew of other things that go into evaluating coaches.

    Wins and losses aren’t the only way coaches can be evaluated. If that was the case, Hollins, Del Negro, and Karl might all still be employed.

    Also, for all the “sourced” reports out there, I’ve seen little to no claims that Dwight actually wanted D’Antoni fired. What I read was that he was unhappy with the system and the leadership structure on the team. One can only assume addressing those issues would also be a way to help connect with Dwight and that doesn’t mean firing the coach. Again, I said I didn’t necessarily disagree with McMenamin’s take. Hiring Phil Jackson probably would look good to Dwight. When asked my opinion, I said I wouldn’t fire him now and part of the reason that I say that is because Phil Jackson has open said multiple times that he will not coach again. When asked directly about *this* Lakers’ job he said he’d advise the team to look at one of his former assistants who has something to offer. The idea persists, from nearly everyone that reports on these things, that those winds could shift and that Phil could be convinced to come back. But that’s no sure thing either. So there seems to be a lot of speculation going on based solely on what people think would happen if something else happens and down the rabbit hole we go…

  49. if everything goes the way your scenario does, you look for him to maximize the players on the roster, you look for growth in the way he communicates with players, you look for how the team responds to him, and a slew of other things that go into evaluating coaches.

    Yeah, but the problem with that is, like I said, the 2015 team will almost certainly be vastly different than the 2014 team, and you are always talking about continuity, etc. If MDA is worth keeping now, I would think that he would be worth keeping for the reload. Also, we need to think about PR here: how will Jim Buss look if he keeps MDA, Howard walks, and then he fires D’Antoni after next year? The only way to justify that is if they are pulling a Rivers/Paul thing to chase a FA.

    And, of course, we know why Karl, Del Negro and Hollins were fired.

    Karl–playoff losses
    Del Negro–playoff losses and Paul
    Hollins–didn’t want to go sabermetric with the FO–but do you think he would be gone if they had beaten the Spurs? I don’t.

    So, it is pretty much always about winning and losing, be it in postseason or regular season.

  50. Kevin,

    Like I said, it doesn’t matter if Howard is the 4th best player in the league or the 12th best, and those kinds of lists are in many respects subjective anyway. The Lakers, based on what we know now, have a lot better chance to win over the next 3-4 years with him than without him. All the other stuff–like saying he’s a “cancer”–is just noise and venting. And again, people said the same kinds of things–and worse–about Kobe for years and years, and many people still feel that way about him, even after 30,000 points and five rings. Everything starts with talent. The other things–coaching, chemistry, commitment, fit, etc–all matter. But actually hoisting the trophy starts with getting as much high-level talent on the roster as possible, and Howard is the highest-level talent that the Lakers would seem to have a realistic shot at getting over the next couple of years, and he is a big. It’s really pretty simple.

  51. rr,
    I’m not trying to convince anyone that my position is right. If you think you’d rather stick out another year w/ D’Antoni, by all means think that. I was asked my opinion and I gave it. I honestly don’t know if there is a right or a wrong thing here. I really don’t.

    But, I don’t agree that just because you ride it out with MDA this next season that keeping him for the rebuild is necessary. I just don’t see it that way. I’m not trying to convince anyone that he should be fired if things go poorly next year, I simply explained that starting anew in 2014 with new players and a new coach is a reasonable approach. If you disagree, so be it. I honestly don’t care enough about this, at least at this point, to continue discussing it.

  52. RR,

    Your perspective is refreshing.