We all somehow knew that Dwight Howard didn’t want to play with Kobe Bryant anymore. After all, who leaves the Los Angeles Lakers like that, after just one season?
Well, ESPN’s Ric Bucher made what we were all thinking, official.
“Dwight didn’t want to play with Kobe for 2-3 more years,” Buss said. “I’m going to stand behind Kobe because of his history with the franchise.” It would seem, then, with all that happened, the Lakers had the wherewithal to keep Howard if they had desired; they simply found the price too high.”
Basically, Dwight was demanding the Lakers to chose either him or Kobe. Evidently, the Lakers went with what they knew — Kobe. But this begs the question — was it the wrong decision?
We know that Kobe is coming off — possibly — his worst injury of his career and Dwight is, well, entering the prime of his career. The Lakers have precedent here, taking Kobe over Shaq after the 2003-04 season. Most people believed that the Lakers would regret taking Kobe over Shaq, but so far they haven’t. In fact, Kobe is still playing at that same elite level, while Shaq is now a talking head.
The Lakers were right, so right when they chose Kobe over Shaq, but will they be right in taking Kobe over Dwight? I’m sure this is going to be an interesting talking point all throughout next season, and until one of these two players wins a title on their own, we won’t know the answer to that question.
Let’s play out some scenarios though…
Let’s say, the Lakers don’t get a big name in next year’s free agency class, it’s entirely possible. What happens next? Let’s say the Rockets trade Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin, create some cap space and add another big name. What will that say about Kobe versus Dwight then?
Dwight’s likable personality is inviting to other free agents, sometimes Kobe’s competitiveness isn’t.
Will that ultimately determine the Kobe versus Dwight debate?
Of course, plenty needs to play out before we can categorize the Lakers as right or wrong in choosing Kobe over Dwight, but it’s not out of this realm to say that the Lakers might’ve been wrong.
I’ve said this on Twitter, I’ll say it again. I honestly believe that Kobe will not win another title in the NBA, not with him as the centerpiece of a franchise. I believe Dwight will win — at least — three before his career is over.
Let the chips fall where they may, but I’m taking Dwight Howard.
Dwight Howard returns to LA on February 15th and tickets are available for as low as $115 at BarrysTickets. That may be too early to tell which superstar the Lakers should have stuck with, but it’ll be fun to see these two competitors go at each other.