It’s been over a year since the Dwightmare saga finally ended, as Dwight Howard opted to bolt from Los Angeles in favor of Houston.
It’s a grueling topic to bring back up for Lakers fans, but it was one of the few that Henry Abbott of ESPN The Magazine chose to rehash in his recent article, which claims Kobe Bryant is destroying the Lakers’ franchise.
Coincidentally (or maybe not), the Lakers kick off the regular season by playing the Houston Rockets tonight, as Kobe and his already-beaten-up Lakers face off against Dwight, James Harden and the Rockets. The fact that Kobe and Dwight haven’t been on the same court together since they were teammates in mid-April of 2013 is also going to be an added storyline. Now, they are bitter rivals once again, this time in an extremely talented Western Conference.
What transpired over the course of the 2012-2013 season was quite difficult and disappointing to watch. The Lakers acquired Steve Nash via a sign-and-trade with the Phoenix Suns, followed by management somehow maintaining Pau Gasol yet trading away Andrew Bynum (who ended up not playing a single minute that season) for the superstar center, who was coming off back surgery.
Lakers fans had gotten their wish, and were slated as the favorites — along with the Miami Heat — for a championship parade in June of 2013.
Coming off an Olympic Gold Medal, Kobe came into training camp ready and put on display one of his best individual seasons to date over the course of his 17th NBA season. Unfortunately, his year would end with him literally leaving it all on the court, as he tore his Achilles Tendon against the Golden State Warriors in an attempt to will the Lakers to the playoffs (which he did after knocking down two free throws, knowing his season was over).
However, Nash suffered a career-altering — and eventually, career-ending — injury in just his second game with the purple and gold. As for Dwight, he never looked interested, and back issues plagued him all season.
The Lakers made the playoffs, but went out in fumes as they were swept by the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the playoffs. Dwight was ejected from that game in the second half, after picking up his second technical foul out of frustration.
Lakers Practice: Kobe Bryant Before Opening Night