From Dave McMenamin, ESPN LA: Dwight Howard knows how all the attention surrounding his exit from the Orlando Magic created a “Dwightmare” situation for everyone involved and he wants to avoid the negative spotlight with his free agency decision looming in Los Angeles. “I’m not a crybaby,” Howard told ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith on SportsCenter on Monday. “I didn’t try to cry my way out of Orlando. That was never my intention, or not what I did at all. And I understand everybody thought it was that way because of what was being put out there. I’m not indecisive. I love this game. You know I play it because it inspires me; it inspires millions of kids around me, adults and all. And, I’m going to have fun while I do it.” Howard becomes a free agent July 1 but wants to live in the present, sticking to his goal of winning the first championship of his nine-year career this season, no matter how unlikely it may seem with the Los Angeles Lakers getting off to a 22-26 start more than three months into the season.
From David Bean, OC Register: The NBA announced Tuesday that Lakers forward Metta World Peace has been suspended one game without pay for grabbing the Detroit Pistons’ Brandon Knight around the neck and striking him in the jaw. The incident happened with 1:43 left int he second quarter of the Lakers’ 98-97 victory against the Pistons on Sunday at The Palace of Auburn Hills. According to the news release, World Peace will serve his suspension Tuesday night when the Lakers visit the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center. World Peace was given a flagrant foul 1 on the play, a punishment Knight didn’t feel was severe enough because he said the Lakers forward hit him with a fist.
From Adi Joseph, USA Today: Dwight Howard can’t play, but the Los Angeles Lakers aren’t going to sit there and take it. General manager Mitch Kupchak says the Lakers have filed a complaint with the NBA about hard fouls on Howard, who reinjured his right shoulder during a Jan. 30 loss to the Phoenix Suns. Howard has missed the Lakers’ two games since. “There’s a protocol to airing opinions or complaints with the NBA. And we’ve done that,” Kupchak told the Los Angeles Times. “The game has evolved and like a lot of other sports where attention is now being given to protect players, the NBA is interested in doing so as well. I don’t know if they will review our concerns, but (hard fouls) have resulted in injury to one of our players.” The move isn’t unprecedented, but it does reveal some concerns. Howard may be the strongest, most physically gifted player in the NBA, but that only allows teams to defend him harder. He’s not quite the immovable force of Shaquille O’Neal, but he similarly deals with overt aggression from defenders.
From T.J. Simers, LA Times: In this mess of a Lakers season, there has remained one crazy, befuddling constant: Mike D’Antoni’s decision to embarrass and then bench Pau Gasol. Good for Earl Clark. But when D’Antoni began his stint as Lakers coach by not playing Gasol in the fourth quarter, replying, “I was thinking I’d like to win this game,” it was a big-time putdown. It seemed like too much, too soon, especially for someone who has meant so much to the Lakers. “It’s hard to know personalities if you don’t get in touch with them,” said Gasol, his relationship with the Lakers coach now cordial and tension-free but still anchored in disagreement. The coach and player met at a Manhattan Beach restaurant a few weeks back, and most folks were left with the impression they had a meeting of minds. “It was an effort on our part to try and come to an understanding,” Gasol said. “But I don’t think it’s translated to an understanding. Nothing significant has happened; it’s probably even gone a little backwards.” Jim Buss said recently he was told by D’Antoni that Gasol was a happy camper now because D’Antoni was saving Gasol’s knees and prolonging his career. It was amusing news to Gasol, who played 37 minutes against Minnesota and 40 versus Detroit. “Never heard that,” he said.
From Ben Golliver, Sports Illustrated: Mitch Kupchak says change will come from within for the Lakers and that a shake-up in advance of the Feb. 21 trade deadline isn’t likely to happen.The Lakers GM told Newsday that All-Star center Dwight Howard will not be traded and that coach Mike D’Antoni is not in trouble despite the team’s sub-.500 record.L.A.’s motivation for moving Howard would come if the Lakers were convinced he would not re-sign next summer, when he’s set to become an unrestricted free agent. His name surfaced as a possible trade piece in January after he expressed some frustration with D’Antoni’s offensive system and his role. The Point Forward suggested at the time that the Lakers were better off playing out the season and taking their chances. Since those reports, Howard said the right things and then re-aggravated a shoulder injury, putting the trade whispers on the back burner.
Weird that the player I’m disliking most this season is Pau. How good did he have it from 08 – 11. Got to be the #2 next to Kobe and won 2 titles. Now it’s non stop drama with his minutes, role, ect… This is a guy who had 2 playoff no shows in a row too, so while it’s nice to hear about him wanting post touches just remember how horrible he’s been when it’s mattered most. And that’s before I mention his bad defense.
Pau’s Issues, MWP/Dwight Out, Kupchak not trading anyone….
Just your typical, boring day in the life of a Hollywood team.
Sean Is says
Dan, you keep talking about basketball, but (based on your comment) I do not think it means what you think it means.
I’m disappointed in Dwight’s response to SAS about committing to Lakers. It appears that Dwight can easily leave for Dallas. Better ownership( say what you want about Mark Cuban but hes alot better than Jim Buss) and most of their contracts expire this offseason giving them salary flexibility to sign good free agents. Dallas isn’t a small market team and Dwight can be the number one option on offense. Mitch might have to convince Dwight that Lakers can win a championship NEXT season if they want to keep him.
I didn’t expect Dwight to play. I understand why he’s out to a certain extent but this is really a make or break road trip for the lakers and if he could play I think he should. But I’m sick of this I need more shots from Dwight. Dwight is averaging two 3 less shots compared to last year and Kobe’s average is down 2. Dwight is getting his touches. The person that really needs to shoot less is mwp he’s averaging 11 a games. That’s second most on the team. And speaking of world peace he started the year off pretty good, now he’s becoming a detriment. He has not focused on defense for most if the year. He’s been shooting the lakers into the ground. Now he gets suspended for his usual antics. With earl Clark being a free agent this summer, the lakers will have to explore using amnesty on him and near 8 million he’s going to get.
Craig W. says
This is the 3rd year after the Boston series. For players in their 30s those can be a critical 3 years. Everyone bows to father time; the only question is Can you play smarter? and Can you adjust your role?
It is the rare star that can adjust their role. Pau just may not be that rare star.
LT mitchell says
Would the players be questioning their roles and the system if Phil was coaching this team…or at least someone who they respect? Kobe decides to change his role without discussing it with D’Antoni. He than states that “we are a post up team”, despite D’Antoni’s philosophy that the “post up shot is one of the most inefficient shots in basketball”. Pau obviously does not respect his coach’s decisions, and Dwight has been demanding more post touches all season. Meeks was confused about his DNP’s as well. There seems to be a lack of respect issue on this team. D’Antoni’s quote about benching Gasol in the fourth quarter “because he wanted to win” was below the belt and illustrates just how bad the coach is in terms managing egos.
Dan: Both Kobe and Dwight have done their fair share of talking to the media. If you’re going to call out one call out them all.
Even in the midst of winning 5 out 6 games. Dwight goes on espn and says he doesn’t like Playing with Kobe because he shoots too much.
Pau has come out and said he might request a trade if Dantoni and Howard remain lakers because he doesn’t like being benched and not playing in the post.
So let me get this straight, Dwight doesn’t like Kobe, pau loves Kobe but doesn’t care for playing with Dwight. Everybody dislikes playing for D’antoni because he doesn’t like playing in the post and everybody like playing in the post and they’ve basically changed the system in their own. Even nash seemed more excited to potentially play for phil than to play for D’antoni again. On top of that 5 of the 8 best players have missed significant time due to injury with one being out for the season. Whew. This certainly isn’t a recipe for a championship.
Pau has been a true professional about some of the craziness in the last couple years, but he brought some of this upon himself.
In Phil’s last year, PJ went so far as to suggest Pau was having an MVP like start during when kobe and bynum were injured.
I was rolling my eyes at that, but I certainly thought it was a nice gesture by Phil to remind Pau that he was sorely needed.
Pau didn’t really come through then, and was consistently inconsistent the rest of the season. Phil even jabbed a finger in pau’s chest during the mavs series. (Did we ever find out why he played so lousy? Were the girlfriend rumors true?)
You would think he’d come back the following year with a little more motivation, but he was not that much different. Granted, the botched trade (thanks again Stern!) was really tough and he was so much more mature about it than Odom.
But his play never really improved. But he played like a beast in the Olympics.
So now this year he doesn’t like the coach and how’s being used. That’s a fair point, but he had already dropped enough hints about being unhappy, so using Simers as a platform to repeat it is weak.
At least wait until the lakers are mathematically out of playoff contention, which could happen sooner rather than later.
Actually, his chit chat with Simers is a pretty soft move. Somebody get him some tissues.
But you can’t forget his role in getting those rings. He was huge.
Darius Soriano says
The game preview is up.
D’Antoni is a class-1 A-Hole for disrespecting Pau Gasol.
If Jimmy Buss hadn’t blown it by owing him $16 MILLION, D’Antoni’s butt would be on the streets. Idiots.