LAKERS’ FUTURE ON HOLD AS CONTRADICTORY DWIGHT HOWARD TAKES STEP BACK

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View Poll Results: Test your prognostications skills: Where will D12 end up next season?
Resign with the Lakers 5 16.67%
Sign with Dallas 2 6.67%
Sign with Atlanta 3 10.00%
Sign with Houston 12 40.00%
Other 8 26.67%
Voters: 30. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 04-29-2013, 10:01 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default LAKERS’ FUTURE ON HOLD AS CONTRADICTORY DWIGHT HOWARD TAKES STEP BACK

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LOS ANGELES – Is this how Dwight Howard’s L.A. story ends?
Does it finish with two technical fouls and an automatic ejection with 9:51 left in the third quarter of a second consecutive home blowout? Is this how the future of the franchise, as general manager Mitch Kupchak called him a few months ago, exits — walking off through the tunnel to a golf clap before much of the sold-out crowd had even made it back to their seats?
And then, like ships passing in the night, the Lakers’ royalty of past and present emerged from the tunnel for the first time during these two playoff games at Staples Center. Dressed in a black suit and moving slowly on crutches, Kobe Bryant chose that very moment to make his appearance, to wave to the crowd, as if to reinforce whose hands still cradle this proud franchise. He took a seat behind the bench, serenaded by the familiar chant of “M-V-P” as action on the court played on.
Howard said he somehow missed Kobe coming in as he was heading out.
“I didn’t see anybody,” Howard said in hushed tones. “I didn’t even know he went out there.”
Bravo, Lakers. No one does drama like you.
Meanwhile, the always sympathetic 7-footer, Pau Gasol, remained as last star standing to finally bury this tragic season. If this was to be Gasol’s last stand as a Laker, at least the faithful sent him on his way with a heartfelt standing ovation with 3:08 left in the game.
“I guess there’s a sense this is a possibility,” Gasol, with the topic of his departure sensitive, said after producing 16 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
Gasol and the ragtag Lakers that mopped up this season were no match for the San Antonio Spurs, who are headed for an extended layoff after finishing off the depleted, and now officially defeated, Lakers with a first-round sweep. Sunday’s Game 4 was never in doubt with Tony Parker, Tim Duncan & Co., going wire-to-wire for the expected 103-82 thumping.
And so here we go dashing into your offseason story, L.A. — Lakers held hostage: Day 1.
Three seasons removed from their last title and anything more than a first-round series win, the Lakers’ future is now trapped inside Howard’s head. And after the loss, he was at his contradictory best while talking about this lost season and the season to come, wherever that may come for the free-agent-to-be.
Howard, almost comically, used the word “nightmare” to describe this season in its entirety, an unintentional nod to the “Dwightmare” moniker that media types dubbed Howard’s final, maddening, flip-flopping season with his old team the Orlando Magic. And, on a beach somewhere, those bums he used to call teammates are laughing so hard they’re spitting up their Mai-Tais.
“It was like a nightmare. It’s like a bad dream and we couldn’t wake up out of it. That’s what it felt like,” said Howard, who settled for seven points, eight rebounds and five turnovers in 20-and-a-half minutes before frustratingly getting a second technical. “It seemed like nothing could go right from the start [of the season], injuries and all that stuff.”
Then, Howard continued with a most interesting “but,” that perked up all listening ears …
“But,” Howard continued, “we get an opportunity to get some rest, guys who are injured, coming off injuries a chance to rehab and think about what we can all do to better ourselves.”
The questioner told Howard that he sounded optimistic about a return to the Lakers. Or is it reading too much into that?
“You’re reading too much into that,” Howard said softly.
Next, Howard was asked if the team can turn this disappointing season into something positive and return the proud Lakers franchise to title contention next season.
“We’re all going to take some time away from the game and focus on us, and focus on getting better,” Howard answered, again sounding as though he planned to be part of the “us” that’s focused on “getting better.”
Really, be thankful that only the Lakers’ fate, and not that of the free world, hinges on Howard’s ability to make a decision or say what he means. We’d all be doomed.
“It was a rocky year. A lot of things happened that I didn’t have any control over,” Howard said. “I think I handled some situations good and I think I handled some bad, but it’s a growing process. We’re going to keep growing, we’re going to keep learning. That’s why we have an offseason, to get an opportunity to reflect on good and bad things that happened during the season and try to make it better for the next year.”
For whatever reason, Howard can’t or won’t commit to taking the Lakers’ max contract offer of five years and $118 million that will be on the table July 1. He won’t allow Kupchak to begin taking bids for sculptors — you remember Kupchak’s statue talk — or to begin a master plan of building the program around the 6-foot-11 Howard without also having a contingency plan. Only Howard knows what he intends to do. Or maybe he simply doesn’t.
“I’m going to step away from everything for a couple weeks and clear my head before I talk about anything as far as next season,” Howard said. “I think I deserve that.”
Sure, Howard can “explore” free agency, but his value is already set. He will be a max player somewhere. He already knows the handful of teams — Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, to name three — that will have the cap space available to fit him into a four-year, $87.6 million contract, the max that teams not named the Lakers can offer under the collective bargaining agreement.
Howard’s only consistent thought about his future throughout this season is to say that he hasn’t thought about it.
Reasons to leave L.A., to pass on the challenge of being the next great center alongside George Mikan and Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O’Neal, are worthy of consideration. Does he want to continue to play with the domineering Kobe? Can he thrive under coach Mike D’Antoni? Does the lack of a young superstar already on the roster worry him? Does he want the responsibility of being the cornerstone of a franchise that demands championships? Can he stomach the constant scrutiny of spoiled fans and the media and of the ultimate vocal critic in Magic Johnson?
Howard wasn’t done with his postgame contradictions. Here he was now talking about his relationship with Kobe, how it was “pretty good” before he came to town and how nothing’s really changed despite perceptions. He said people “twisted a lot of things.” The “fake fights and arguments that we supposedly had” being chief among them.
And then came this surprising admission that seemed to genuinely come straight from the heart: ”We’ve maintained a pretty good relationship,” he said of Kobe, “and I want to continue to be here for him throughout the process that he has to go through recovering from his Achilles. … We’re not best friends, but I want to be there for him. Having an injury is a tough thing to deal with. I just want to be here for him as a brother.”
It would certainly seem strange for younger brother to then pack up and go.
But who knows? This is the contradiction of Dwight.
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Old 04-29-2013, 10:07 AM   #2 (permalink)
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the guy is a Putz...period
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Old 04-29-2013, 10:17 AM   #3 (permalink)
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the guy is a Putz...period
Couldn't agree more. Can't stand him, seems so childish and daft.
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Old 04-29-2013, 10:37 AM   #4 (permalink)
Is wondering when the Patman and JJ will be unleashed?

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I threw a poll in (more for practice) but I'm curious now. Since his first year was a "Nightmare" and now he's an UFA, will he stay now that the LAkers showed just how much of a disarray they are in? From Cupcake to Dántoni to Nash to Kobe to get me outta here...

Edit: Personally, I believe D12 ends up in Houston for the simple fact that Houston's team is young and exciting. Also has that young all star stud on the wing in Harden.

Last edited by DocHoliday99; 04-29-2013 at 10:55 AM.
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Old 04-29-2013, 10:55 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I haven't watched many Laker games this year but I would probably throw everyone out except for Kobe, Clark, Hill, Goudelock, Morris and maybe Gasol. Dwight will never lead the Lakers to a title.

And Pringles needs to go as well.
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Old 04-29-2013, 11:18 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I saw nothing wrong with what he said in that interview.
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Old 04-29-2013, 11:53 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by ZanTheMan View Post
I haven't watched many Laker games this year but I would probably throw everyone out except for Kobe, Clark, Hill, Goudelock, Morris and maybe Gasol. Dwight will never lead the Lakers to a title.

And Pringles needs to go as well.
Most likely D12 is going to wait and see wait the Lakers do - I would as well in his spot.

If the Lakers retain Dántoni I would hope to see a trade with Minny. A trade of Gasol for Love probably won't happen but maybe a trade of Gasol for Dwill/AK47? Gasol's passing and defense along with Pekovic would be a pretty tough frontcourt; or Love/Gasol for offense - the 3 bigmen would create havoc in the west imo and would easily overtake the Grizz's frontcourt. Minny could start Rubio/Shved/Budinger/Love/Pekovic with Gasol the first big off the bench. For the Lakers I think AK is great and seems to have bounced back from whatever mediocrity train he was on: Nash/Kobe/AK47/Dwill/D12 with Blake/Goudelock/MWP/Clark/Hill - that has a lot of possibilities for Dántoni, especially Dwill - the perfect tweener.


Of course if he signs on his own I would be surprised if he didn't go to Houston and join Harden/Lin/Parsons. Less pay there but the core is young and talented and there is no state tax, no cold and they love their basketball in Texas.

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Old 04-29-2013, 12:52 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by DocHoliday99 View Post
Most likely D12 is going to wait and see wait the Lakers do - I would as well in his spot.

If the Lakers retain Dántoni I would hope to see a trade with Minny. A trade of Gasol for Love probably won't happen but maybe a trade of Gasol for Dwill/AK47? Gasol's passing and defense along with Pekovic would be a pretty tough frontcourt; or Love/Gasol for offense - the 3 bigmen would create havoc in the west imo and would easily overtake the Grizz's frontcourt. Minny could start Rubio/Shved/Budinger/Love/Pekovic with Gasol the first big off the bench. For the Lakers I think AK is great and seems to have bounced back from whatever mediocrity train he was on: Nash/Kobe/AK47/Dwill/D12 with Blake/Goudelock/MWP/Clark/Hill - that has a lot of possibilities for Dántoni, especially Dwill - the perfect tweener.


Of course if he signs on his own I would be surprised if he didn't go to Houston and join Harden/Lin/Parsons. Less pay there but the core is young and talented and there is no state tax, no cold and they love their basketball in Texas.
Honestly I'm shocked you would give the majority of the current roster a second chance... IMHO the Lakers are desperate for a total makeover. Keep the young ones and ditch the veterans. (except for Kobe and Pau)
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Old 04-29-2013, 01:52 PM   #9 (permalink)
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for a guy who came of serious back surgery, he sure takes alot of blame in lakerland, i'm sure it has nothing to do with the aging roster, the injuries that piled up, the hiring of a coach who doesn't fit , or the depth on the roster,

by the way that second techinical was garbage,

if i was howard i would have houston on speed dial,

i thought i would nver see a d league team make the nba playoffs but it happened in game 3 and 4
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Old 04-29-2013, 05:17 PM   #10 (permalink)
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for a guy who came of serious back surgery, he sure takes alot of blame in lakerland, i'm sure it has nothing to do with the aging roster, the injuries that piled up, the hiring of a coach who doesn't fit , or the depth on the roster,

by the way that second techinical was garbage,

if i was howard i would have houston on speed dial,

i thought i would nver see a d league team make the nba playoffs but it happened in game 3 and 4
THIS
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Old 04-29-2013, 05:59 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I love how Magic Johnson lobbied for him last year at this time, and now throws him under the bus. The Lakers are a mess. I can't wait to see how many more teams and coaches this guy can trash. Very entertaining.
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Old 04-29-2013, 06:29 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Most likely D12 is going to wait and see wait the Lakers do - I would as well in his spot.

If the Lakers retain Dántoni I would hope to see a trade with Minny. A trade of Gasol for Love probably won't happen but maybe a trade of Gasol for Dwill/AK47? Gasol's passing and defense along with Pekovic would be a pretty tough frontcourt; or Love/Gasol for offense - the 3 bigmen would create havoc in the west imo and would easily overtake the Grizz's frontcourt. Minny could start Rubio/Shved/Budinger/Love/Pekovic with Gasol the first big off the bench. For the Lakers I think AK is great and seems to have bounced back from whatever mediocrity train he was on: Nash/Kobe/AK47/Dwill/D12 with Blake/Goudelock/MWP/Clark/Hill - that has a lot of possibilities for Dántoni, especially Dwill - the perfect tweener.


Of course if he signs on his own I would be surprised if he didn't go to Houston and join Harden/Lin/Parsons. Less pay there but the core is young and talented and there is no state tax, no cold and they love their basketball in Texas.
Pringles will never win a title. He can't control minutes what so ever and LA will again be in a hole when it comes to injuries.
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Old 04-29-2013, 07:10 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Blazers had worst paint defense in the league.

We got some cap room.

I personally think it would be a smart business venture for Portland to hire the services of Dwight Howard.

I voted other
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Old 04-29-2013, 07:25 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Blazers had worst paint defense in the league.

We got some cap room.

I personally think it would be a smart business venture for Portland to hire the services of Dwight Howard.

I voted other
If they do that plus draft McCollum and sign solid wing player, I could see them being a top 3 seed in the west.
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Old 04-29-2013, 07:41 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Honestly I don't even think Houston wants Dwight. As crazy as it may sound, I think they're happy with Asik. They should wait and try to get Kevin Love.
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Old 04-30-2013, 09:35 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Honestly I don't even think Houston wants Dwight. As crazy as it may sound, I think they're happy with Asik. They should wait and try to get Kevin Love.
I was thinking something similar last night watching Asik play - too bad the Bulls couldn't have kept him.

I think the Rockets should revisit Gasol, no ego to contend with. Houston is great at small ball with Lin/Beverly/Harden/Parson/Asik but then being able to switch it up to Lin/Harden/Parsons/Pau/Asik? That would be pretty slick.

I'm not the biggest fan of Love's but I think he would do wonders playing center in Portland next to LA - Between Love/Lillard/Batum/Mathews popping 3's it would certainly open up the middle for LA's scoring and passing. Lillard/Mathews/Batum/Love/LA <----might become a stronger Portland fan with that line-up (though Lillard is making a strong case).
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Old 04-30-2013, 10:35 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Simple Josh Smith for Dwight trade.
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Old 04-30-2013, 10:50 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Brooklyn was the first team to covet him. If they get ousted early, they will come calling again.
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Old 04-30-2013, 11:02 AM   #19 (permalink)
Is wondering when the Patman and JJ will be unleashed?

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Simple Josh Smith for Dwight trade.
Simple? Howard wants max and deserves it. Smith wants the max but does not deserve it. Bit of an issue don't you think? Howard/Horford would be a nice tandem but other than that the Hawks have squat imo and is going for a complete rebuild and I think that's not a situation D12 wants to be in.
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Old 04-30-2013, 11:41 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Brooklyn was the first team to covet him. If they get ousted early, they will come calling again.
Absolutely and if I were the Lakers I would go after Wallace/Lopez for Howard/MWP. Wallace is already complaining about not knowing his role and imo, Brooklyn has too many chefs in the kitchen. To me, if I was Cupcake and the Nets really want D12 then Wallace would be the cost of business. Besides, there is really no drop off in current stats but the tangibles each player brings to the table I think would elevate both teams. Lakers could even trade Gasol for a stretch 4 IF they wanted to. Also after MWP picks-up his option he will be expiring which is good for the Nets.

Lakers have:
Nash/Kobe/Wallace/Gasol/Lopez (and no D'antoni)

Brooklyn would have:
Williams/JJ/MWP/Evans/Howard

Better roster for both teams imo.
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