ESPN ran an article this morning detailing why Dwight Howard chose not to return to the Lakers. According to the article, Dwight was pissy that the Lakers wouldn’t push out one of the best players in the history of basketball — Kobe Bryant — to make way for King Howard’s reign in Los Angeles.
ESPN can not call out a professional athlete for being a selfish piece of shit; that’s what I’m here for. So let’s take a look at what the article had to say and bash Dwight Howard along the way.
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.
Let’s get this straight: Dwight Howard, a seven-time All-Star, zero-time NBA champion, wanted the Lakers to give him a good idea of when they were going to get rid of Kobe Bryant, a 15-time All-Star, five-time NBA champion, two-time NBA Finals MVP, and the 2008 NBA MVP.
Kobe is undoubtedly on the decline, but he’s one of the best players ever to set foot on an NBA court. The Lakers aren’t going to be “establishing a clear timetable” to move on from Kobe Bryant. He can and will retire on his own terms.
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.
Wait, so were the Lakers supposed to force out Kobe Bryant in a year in order to keep a guy that’s been an absolute poison on the roster? He was just joking right?
Howard’s camp at one point asked the Lakers whether they were at least considering releasing Bryant through the league’s amnesty provision, since Bryant’s return date from Achilles tendon surgery remained in question. Releasing Bryant via the amnesty provision and shopping Pau Gasol and Steve Nash to teams with salary-cap space would have allowed the Lakers to try to recruit [Howard and Chris] Paul in free agency.
No, it appears he wasn’t joking. Dwight Howard and his crack team of representatives — his “camp” — actually asked the Lakers if they considered amnestying Kobe Fucking Bryant. He then wanted the team to trade Steve Nash and Pau Gasol, two other players that have accomplished much more in their careers than Howard has, to sign him and a friend. He was a free agent and he was trying to dictate what roster moves the Lakers should make. Even worse, he wanted them to amnesty Kobe Bryant.
One source added that Howard had concerns about how the Lakers planned to market him after being disappointed with the franchise in that aspect last season.
Is Dwight Howard really that vain and self-centered that he was upset with the way the team was marketing him? Did he need more commercials? More billboards? A gigantic banner on the side of the Staples Center with his face for the entire season?
There were also reports last week when Howard was still a free agent that he wanted the Houston Rockets to add a third superstar. Howard had the audacity to ask the Rockets, who had just spent most of the previous week moving around players to find the cap room to sign him, how they were going to be able to position themselves to offer a second max contract in addition to his.
Howard must have missed that thing the Miami Heat did where none of their “Big Three” took on max contracts because you can’t build a successful basketball team while dedicating that much cap space to just three players. If Howard wanted another superstar in Houston and really only cared about winning a championship as he claimed, maybe he could have lived off of, say, $15 million a year instead of the $22 million that he signed for.
Moral of the story: Dwight Howard is a selfish asshole who thinks that the basketball revolves around him.