Something hasn’t been going right in Los Angeles and no one can put on finger on exactly what it is. Mike Brown was made a scapegoat when he was fired earlier in the season, but things are even worse now than they were when Brown was still with the team — meaning the problem is still there. When the Lakers made the trade of the offseason to get Dwight Howard, it was supposed to be a return to dominance, but that plan hasn’t left the tarmac, and we might have a good reason why.
Dwight Howard was unhappy in Orlando and checked out two years ahead of schedule, despite what he says or how he played. In his tumultuous finals days there, he lead the team on, became a drama queen and got his head coach fired.
In Los Angeles — or should we say Loss Angeles– Howard has seemed to have momentarily checked out despite what he says or how he plays, he’s become an even bigger drama queen and he got a head coach fired.
Seeing a trend here?
The Lakers reportedly had a team meeting on Wednesday in which reports say things got “testy” and Dwight Howard essentially blew off Kobe Bryant. The meeting discussed how well the offense was working for the players running it, with Steve Nash basically playing the lost Canadian puppy in all of this. The Los Angeles Times reports that a witness to the meetings said Nash was open to anything that worked, he just wanted to team to come together.
But when it came to Kobe and Howard, reports say things didn’t go over so well.
Bryant also spoke up, acknowledging he could be “hard to play with” and asking Howard if that bothered him. Howard’s answer was unclear, though he did not engage Bryant in nearly as vocal a manner as Bryant engaged him.
“He didn’t go back at Kobe,” said the person who witnessed the meeting.
This isn’t the first time Kobe and Howard have seemingly been at odds with one another. A report from earlier in the season said the duo got into a minor fight after a game, but both men joked about the incident later. However, this time around Howard denied the reports that said Kobe asked him if he liked playing with him.
“Whatever was said that (Bryant) said is not true,” Howard said. “He never asked me if I liked playing with him. I will say that. He never asked me.”
It was said by Howard earlier in the year that he didn’t like playing
“No, I’m not,” Howard said. “It’s something that we all got to learn. We got to learn how to play together.”
This whole thing seems to be a case of guys that thought they’d be winning having to suffer through losing. Everything suggested the Lakers would be flying high right now, so naturally the team started patting itself on the back before they’d accomplished anything.
It’s that false sense of accomplishment that has this team at odds now and has Kobe clashing with Howard and vice versa. This will all eventually work itself out, and it likely won’t balloon into “Kobe vs. Shaq II” with Howard playing the part of Shaq. It’s unsettling to hear that things aren’t going well, but for a majority of the basketball community, the shouts of anger and frustration coming from the Lakers locker room is music to their ears.