From Ramona Shelburne and Marc Stein, ESPN LA: Dwight Howard’s distaste for the offense and approach of coach Mike D’Antoni is widely cited as the biggest trigger in his decision to leave the Los Angeles Lakers. But another key factor that led the All-Star center to the Houston Rockets was the Lakers’ refusal to establish a clear timetable for moving on from the Kobe Bryant era, according to sources with knowledge of Howard’s thinking. Sources told ESPN.com that Howard and his representatives — in a handful of meetings with Lakers officials before he became a free agent July 1 — strongly suggested the center would have a difficult time re-signing with the team if Bryant stayed with the franchise beyond the 2013-14 season, the final year of his contract.
From Ben R, Silver Screen & Roll: Rarely has summer league been so relevant for the Lakers, as they try to rebuild a nonexistent wing rotation using the highly limited resources available to them, meaning that we may very well see one or two of these names on the final roster on opening day. Not only are many of these players significantly cheaper than the veterans on the market, they also offer a chance at upside and future returns that many of those better known commodities cannot reciprocate. That the Lakers probably shouldn’t care too much about how many wins they can get next season only gives them more reasons to take the proverbial leap of faith here; having them all fail to pan out only increases the value of their 2014 draft pick and if not, they will have found an interesting contributor that could be part of the team’s post-2014 framework.
From Daniel Buerge, Lakers Nation: The fallout from Dwight Howard’s decision to leave the Lakers for the Houston Rockets continues. After Howard stated it was merely due to his desire to win a championship, and that he felt Houston offered him the best opportunity to do so, it’s now been discovered that one of the main reasons for Howard’s exodus was the uncertainty of when Kobe Bryant would retire, and when Dwight would be considered “the man” in Los Angeles.
From Brett Pollakoff, Pro Basketball Talk: It is theoretically possible to buy the talent necessary to win a championship in the NBA, but especially since the terms of the new collective bargaining agreement went into effect, it would come at a very substantial cost.We’ll get to that in a moment. For now, let’s look at the teams who were served with the biggest luxury tax bills for their respective 2012-13 payrolls.
From Sean Highkin, USA Today: Dwight Howard left over $30 million on the table, as well as a place in the history of one of the most prestigious franchises in all of professional sports, when he left the Los Angeles Lakers to sign with the Houston Rockets. However, to hear Lakers point guard Steve Nash tell it, Howard was never comfortable being a Laker in the first place. “Ultimately, I think Dwight wasn’t comfortable here and didn’t want to be here,” Nash told ESPN Radio on Tuesday. “And if he didn’t want to be here, there’s no point for anyone in him being here. So we wish him the best and move on.”