It’s been nearly two months since Dwight Howard spurned the Lakers, so we were about due for some salacious details of the negotiations to surface.
They have, according to a report from CSN Bay Area, which outlines Howard’s reported demands of the Lakers during free agency. Per a CSN source, Howard asked that, in order to sign him, the team fire coach Mike D’Antoni and either amnesty or “muzzle” Kobe Bryant.
The first demand seems like something the team might have acquiesced to. The second, not so much, and so Howard was off to Houston for a fresh start, which may be just what he needs.
However, Howard’s insistence that the Lakers shape their team to his liking isn’t the first of its kind. The Lakers did as much nine years ago, when they re-signed Bryant at the same time as they dealt Shaquille O’Neal to Miami and fired Phil Jackson. (Jackson quickly returned.) The big difference, though, was that Bryant never explicitly demanded such changes; late owner Jerry Buss, as well as Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss, were on board with the changes.
The report also states that the Lakers told Howard he would have to deal with the status quo – Bryant and D’Antoni – for another year. With the threat of Bryant continuing to play for two or three more seasons, that apparently was simply too much for the temperamental big man to swallow.