The fact that Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard had different views on leadership and basketball in general is no secret. It was well-documented that the two players had their differences on the court, and it seems that one of the reasons Howard decided leave the Los Angeles Lakers was precisely that. Apparently, Howard’s camp even asked whether the Lakers would consider using the amnesty clause on Bryant.
The Lakers, almost from the moment Howard arrived in August 2012, had gone to great lengths to assure the 27-year-old that they saw him as the future face of the franchise and that the torch would be passed from Bryant to him in short order.
But with Bryant saying publicly just a week before free agency that he was thinking of playing at least two or three more seasons, it was hard for Howard to envision when he would assume that role, sources said.
“How can it be Kobe’s team and Dwight’s team?” one source said. “It was about the passing of the torch.”
As an offshoot of those discussions, sources said, 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.
As with all these reports, it’s worth noting that they are not always accurate. Before Howard made his decision, a lot was made about how Bryant apparently told Howard that he needs be taught how to be a winner, but these things can easily be taken out of context.
Still, it’s not that far-fetched. What is a bit curious is what Howard was hoping for. He wants to play with one or two superstars around him and at the same time be the man in the center of attention.
It seems that, more than anything, Howard hoped that the Lakers would be his team sooner than in two or three years, which is how long Kobe hopes to play. Even if he is not the same player after that time, Bryant’s personality would not change and he would still be the alpha dog of the team.