Around The World (Wide Web): The Dwight Aftermath

Ryan Cole —  July 8, 2013

From Ramona Shelburne, ESPN LA: Nine years ago, the Lakers had no choice but to wait. No hints were forthcoming, no tweets to tip them off. The news came more slowly, not minute-by-minute. But the same sense of dread filled the air. Every indication then pointed toward 25-year-old Kobe Bryant bolting for the younger, fresherLos Angeles Clippers. But there was time then. Enough time for the Lakers to turn him around. And ultimately that’s what the Lakers owner at the time, Dr. Jerry Buss, did in a last-minute, face-to-face meeting with his young star.This time around, with Dr. Buss gone and his son and GM Mitch Kupchak in his place, the Lakers weren’t as persuasive. And instead of one last face-to-face meeting, they merely got the word from Dwight Howard when he reached his decision and Twitter quickened the pace of the news. Or maybe they never had a chance to retain Howard anyway.

From Adrian Wojnarowski, Yahoo Sports: Within the Los Angeles Lakers, there had been a belief that a late January team meeting in Memphis could’ve been the beginning of Dwight Howard’s future with the franchise, or merely the beginning of the end. No restraints, no mercy, no holding back. Kobe Bryant had climbed into Howard in a way that was startling, sobering, a moment of penetrating and unpleasant truths. Every time you trash me to teammates, it gets back to me, witnesses said Bryant told Howard in the visiting locker room of the FedEx Forum. Every time you do one of your impersonations when I walk out of the room, I find out. Everything tumbled out of Bryant, one grievance after another, and theLakers coaches and players sat watching the two biggest personas in the room push closer together, or irreconcilably apart.

From C.A. Clark, Silver Screen & Roll: Dear Dwight, So you’ve made your decision, and you want to be a Houston Rocket. That’s cool. I think you made the right choice, not because I think Houston is the better team for future championship prospects, but because it was as obvious to me as it was to you that you just didn’t fit well in Los Angeles, or more appropriately, you didn’t fit well in purple and gold. But on October 29th, or Christmas Day, or whatever random day the NBA decides for the Lakers to host the Houston Rockets at Staples Center for the first time, you will be booed mercilessly.

From Ross Gasmer, Lakers Nation: I never thought I’d write about what the Lakers would do without Dwight Howard. While everyone believed that he was Houston bound, privately I believed that he would see the light and return to the franchise that would give him the best chance of winning a championship. There was a moment on Friday that I believed the light bulb turned on, that he’d realized that the Lakers were right for him and that he’d return. That he would understand that he was next in line. He would follow Mikan, Chamberlain, Abdul-Jabbar and O’Neal. Somebody schooled him on the history of the Lakers and he finally understood that there was no place better, regardless of the sales pitch, for him to play basketball.

From Ken Berger, CBS: Who walks away from the Lakers? Dwight Howard, that’s who. Dwight Howard and nobody else. But that’s not what’s going to be important about this. What’s going to be important is what happens next. If Dwight Howard walks away from the Lakers and wins a championship or championships, he’ll be the guy who boldly wrote his own script — a Hall of Famer who overcame the childish proclivities of his late 20s and turned into a winner who didn’t want to follow anyone. He’ll be the guy who took $30 million less for what he perceived as a better chance to win.

 

Ryan Cole

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29 responses to Around The World (Wide Web): The Dwight Aftermath

  1. Stupid question: I understand Dwight only wants a 4 year deal and not a 5 year deal available only through a sign-and-trade, HOWEVER, are there any scenarios possible with the Rockets with regards to Dwight for a sign-and-trade in his 4 year deal? Just curious if there is anyway of getting back a TPE or a draft pick of some type.

  2. MannyP
    He could only have gotten a 4 year deal by going to Houston- regardless of it being a sign-and-trade or just as a free agent. I have a hard time seeing the Lakers doing a sign and trade here. Everything that the FO has said points to not bringing on any contracts that run longer than this year. When would the TPE expire if they were to ask for one? Could it be used after next season or would it have to be used in this year’s season?

  3. KenOak–

    The TPE lasts for one year.

  4. Forget about players, coach, & GM. This is all about ownership. So far Jimmy B has made all the wrong decisions. Regardless of what Laker beat writers & fans want to believe, apparently the ones who count, the players themselves, have had enough of Jimmy B. The Lakers two best free agents (Dwight & Earl Clark) have decided to take their talents elsewhere.

    And least some forget, L.A. could offer more $$ to those guys than the Rockets & Cavs can. So it’s not about the dollars. The 2013-2014 Laker season will be one to forget. If the high point of the season is Kobe passing MJ on the All time scoring list…how pitiful would that be.

    Here’s hoping Jimmy B frees Gasol & Nash from this mess, allowing them a chance to connect with contenders while getting young talent in return.

  5. Stephen A Smith just reported that Dwight told the Lakers he wanted to stay but only would resign if the Lakers fired D’antoni. Dwight then learned the Lakers didn’t want to resign him because they wouldn’t fire a bad coach for him (something every team including the lakers would do for a player they really wanted to keep).

    So apperently Stephen A Smith is reporting the Lakers chose a top lottery pic from next years draft and another max contract Free Agent over Dwight Howard. We will see if it pays off and the lakers get Wiggins or Parker in the draft. Because its true that Wiggins or Parker and another max FA is probably better than just Dwight. But wow is that a risky play. The lakers have never been risk adverse though.

  6. The Lakers are once again behind the league. When every team in the league is getting either young coaches or championship proven coaches, the Lakers choose to anchor the team with a 60 plus injury plagued coach coach with an unsuccessful program.

    Regarding Dwight maybe the Lakers have some inside information about Howard’s physical or psychological makeup that steered them away from him. Think Andrew Bynum.

    Forgive the typos and lack of punctuation/grammer this was typed from a tablet.

  7. Re posted from previous thread – regarding Howard’s camp commenting that Jim Buss was embarrassing at last Tuesday’s meeting.

    If the comment was indeed regarding Jim’s lack of comfort as a great public speaker then our concern, as fans, should be somewhat lessened. Public speaking is indeed a gift. But Jim should know that it is also a skill that can be learned. Additionally, speaking situations can often be managed so as to minimize their negative impact (e.g.: script your role versus speaking off the top of your head). Hopefully Jim will take the criticism as intended and begins to address this short coming.

    However, if the comment from Howard’s camp was directed at Jim’s apparent lack of preparedness or his aloofness then, as a fan, I am hugely concerned. While Jim will always be a part owner of the Lakers it should not be a given that he must always have such a crucial role in the organization. His responsibilities can go to Jeannie or to an experienced hire.

  8. So…. the *only* thing keeping Dwight from resigning was Mike D? How sure are we that this statement is accurate?

  9. Per Marc Stein, Chris Kaman and Lakers have agreed to a 1-year deal. No other terms disclosed so far.

  10. My claim is that the Lakers made a mistake after they fired Mike Brown. They should have listened to Dwight, and Kobe for that matter, and hired Phil Jackson. The season may have went in a much different direction at that point. (possibly even Kobe’s injury never happens.) Then Dwight probably re-signs. However, I claim that they made the right decision at the end of the year. Firing D’Antoni for Dwight would have been the wrong move for many reasons. I have to agree with Aaron that the team had made up its mind not to go all in on Dwight by the end of the season. I’m not certain about trying to tank for one of the top 2 picks though. I don’t think that plays any role into their thinking.

  11. why would anyone want Odom on the Lakers…He couldnt make a shot last season….Lakers are not going to win a championship next season…He is a distraction(with the TV show)…I rather see a younger player in his spot…If you are playing for the future..Odom is the last person you want…

  12. Stephen A. does have close relationships with many NBA players. When tries to speak for NBA executives I take him with a grain of salt. However, when he speaks for NBA players I take him a lot more seriously. With that said, this could be Dwight’s people trying to make him look like a guy who wanted to do the right thing but Laker management was too stubborn.

    Part of me really wants this to be posturing by Howard’s camp. If the Lakers management just let the best big man in the league walk for nothing because they wanted to hang on to Mike D’Antoni then lord help us all!

  13. Nice back up Center in Kaman. I sure hope D’Antoni doesn’t start him.

  14. Aaron and T. Rodgers,

    When I read that same piece I did not get that understanding. What I took from it was this: Dwight has not shown to any team that he is worth firing a coach. He’s just not serious enough. He must prove to be a franchise player before he gets treated like one. He ain’t no Chris Paul.

    That’s it. I did not read into it further and perhaps we shouldn’t. We can’t know what the FO is thinking.

  15. Kaman was brought in to back up Gasol. And T Rogers if you read Shelbourne the Lakers hung to MDA bc they felt that Dwight havent done anything to warrant that kind of power and the FRANCHISE goes first. Even Kobe Bryant dont wield that power and we would gave it to Dwight? PLEASE.

  16. Well, we got a backup C instead of a stretch PF. Still need those young wing guys.

  17. stephen a smith does not break stories. he is a character who lost his reporting and analytical chops years ago. The fastest he moves is when he needs to get in front of a camera. shelbuorne’s piece is definitely slanted to support the FO (Dwight “seemed” like he was uninterested in the P&R, and the interaction between DH/kobe/nash/d’antoni casts the laker players and staff in a very positive and open light and dwight looks like a baby. ) I still have a hard time believing the Jerry Buss made the call on MDA. Maybe Dr. Buss was healthy enough to do it, but it seems unbelievably odd not to give PJ a couple days to mull it over, and if they really wanted PJ, why wouldn’t they have sent out feelers prior to firing MB? I can’t see them firing MB so haphazardly with no back up plan, unless this was all done by Junior and dad was trying to take the heat off him.

    I never thought I would see Kaman in a lakers jersey…

    Shelbourne’s piece has given the most complete picture of the meeting, but maybe over the course of time, Dan Fegan or Kobe will open up to Woj and we’ll get a more complete picture of what happened. But I wouldn’t be surprised if Woj makes kobe look like the hero.

  18. With the signing of Kaman, the question now becomes –

    1. Was he brought in to be Pau’s backup?
    2. Will Pau now be moved for picks and/or a player(s)?
    3. Will Pau get amnestied to save the organization money?

  19. T Rogers.
    I think you may be looking at this the wrong way. The FO seems to have decided that going forward with DH12 as the guy calling the shots would be detrimental to the franchise. I totally 100% agree with that stance. If they would have given in to his request to fire D’Antoni, then they would effectively be married to any whim he makes.

  20. gene,
    see your point about youth and Lamar not going hand in hand, and about that blasted reality show (oy) but I have to admit, and this is most likely wishful `reaching´ (so to speak), that he may have a resurgence coming back to our Purple & Gold thus being of solid value to the team…don´t know…
    also, I like Wesley Johnson for us..

  21. Tra he most certainly be Pau’s backup unless you think having Sacre as the only backup for our bigs is a good idea if he gave us those 10-6 in 20 minutes like he did in Dallas last year that would be gravy, he is been solid wherever he is been.

  22. I’m not sure I understand the Kaman signing. While the team certainly needs front court help I would have envisioned acquiring a power forward who could play small ball center (like Odom). Kaman, like Pau is strictly center and an old school one at that. Clearly they can’t be on the floor together as the Gasol experiment playing the Four for D’Antoni is over. Why would the Lakers spend limited resources on a true center? Does this mean that Pau is being traded?

  23. stephen a smith does not break stories. he is a character who lost his reporting and analytical chops years ago. The fastest he moves is when he needs to get in front of a camera. shelbuorne’s piece is definitely slanted to support the FO (Dwight “seemed” like he was uninterested in the P&R, and the interaction between DH/kobe/nash/d’antoni casts the laker players and staff in a very positive and open light and dwight looks like a baby. ) I still have a hard time believing the Jerry Buss made the call on MDA. Maybe Dr. Buss was healthy enough to do it, but it seems unbelievably odd not to give PJ a couple days to mull it over, and if they really wanted PJ, why wouldn’t they have sent out feelers prior to firing MB? I can’t see them firing MB so haphazardly with no back up plan, unless this was all done by Junior and dad was trying to take the heat off him.

    I never thought I would see Kaman in a lakers jersey…

    Shelbourne’s piece has given the most complete picture of the meeting, but maybe over the course of time, Dan Fegan or Kobe will open up to Woj and we’ll get a more complete picture of what happened. But I wouldn’t be surprised if Woj makes kobe look like the hero.

  24. Mark – I share your confusion. Although I will say that it may be that the FO is trying to play catch up in terms of filling out their roster. Maybe they know this year is going to be very trying and that older veterans are better suited to the roller coaster ride that gets started in a few months.

    It also could be that the Lakers are undecided about Gasol. Pau is one of the very few assets with value on the roster. If Gasol is moved the likelihood is that it’s for very young assets or picks. Someone would have to be the center.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that we may see a lot of odd moves by the team. You’ll notice that Kaman’s deal is for 1 year. I don’t believe we will see any FA acquisitions that go beyond this season. The result is that the players acquired may not make as much sense when compared to how you would build a team for the longer view.

  25. Rusty Shackleford July 8, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    In regards to the Kaman signing – what about Jordan Hill? He and Earl Clark were the only two players on the team to exceed expectations (before injury) last year.

  26. TempleOfJamesWorthy July 8, 2013 at 9:44 pm

    Can we please, please, please STOP with the Jim Buss hate-fest, and the idiotic revisionist history delusion that Jerry West, Phil Jackson, and Jerry Buss were flawless and never made mistakes?

    It’s not Jim Buss’ fault that the Lakers’ legacy contracts from the old CBA have so hamstrung them under the new one.

    It’s not Jim Buss’ fault that the Lakers’ TOP NINE players were all hurt last year.

    It’s not Jim Buss’ fault that the “genius” Sam Presti traded James Harden to the Rockets for a bag of Cheetos, thus making Houston an attractive destination for Dwight Howard.

    It’s not Jim Buss’ fault that The Evil Emperor Stern scotched the perfectly legitimate Lakers-Rockets-Hornets trade involving Chris Paul.

    Jerry Buss once traded James Worthy for Roy Tarpley and Mark Aguirre (Jerry West talked him out of it).

    Jerry Buss let Phil Jackson go in 2004 in favor of Rudy Tomjonavich because he wanted a more uptempo offense.

    Phil Jackson did not win championships in 6 of the 11 seasons he coached the Lakers, and was arguably outcoached in both the 2004 and 2008 Finals. Furthermore, while almost the entire league has gone to offensive concepts pioneered by Mike D’Antoni, no team other than Phil Jackson teams has had ANY success running the Triangle. That doesn’t mean D’Antoni is a superior coach to Jackson. It means the situation is not as clear-cut as haters would have us believe.

    I heard Stephen A. Smith mention today that Earl Clark left the Lakers because he was D’Antoni’s whipping boy. Ask MWP, Robert Horry, or Sasha Vujacic if PhilJax didn’t have “whipping boys” when he was coaching. Just because Earl Clark and Dwight Howard didn’t like how D’Antoni treated them, that doesn’t necessarily make him a bad coach. Again, the situation is less clear than the haters want it to be.

    I’m saddened that Dwight chose to leave the Lakers for Houston. Yes, it seems unprecedented in Lakers history. But the notion that this would not have happened had The Magical Phil Jackson/Jerry West/Jerry Buss been involved is pure speculation without credible evidence to support it.

  27. I agree with James Worthy’s Temple.

  28. I disagree w/ Temple of James Worthy, sorry guy ownership is always a major factor.