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Mike D’Antoni Explains Decision To Play Howard, Bench Gasol Last Season Reviewed by Momizat on . Last season did not go as planned and was filled with unmet expectations. As the Lakers organization, team and fans are poised and ready to move on to next seas Last season did not go as planned and was filled with unmet expectations. As the Lakers organization, team and fans are poised and ready to move on to next seas Rating:
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Mike D’Antoni Explains Decision To Play Howard, Bench Gasol Last Season

Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles LakersLast season did not go as planned and was filled with unmet expectations. As the Lakers organization, team and fans are poised and ready to move on to next season with different expectations, certain decisions and moves are now being surfaced from last season, especially concerning Dwight Howard.

Last season, Dwight Howard was met with high expectations from the Lakers and the fans, even with the acknowledgment that his back wasn’t 100 percent. After all, that comes with the territory of being a Laker, which is also why the Lakers are the Lakers.

—- Test your knowledge of Pau Gasol by taking this quiz about the Lakers big man! —-

Therefore, Howard consumed a lot of the spotlight as many thought he had the potential to be the future of the franchise. This also played a major factor is Mike D’Antoni’s decision to play Howard over Pau Gasol, even benching Gasol frequently in key moments of games. D’Antoni explained that decision to Dave McMenamin of ESPNLA, saying:

“There was just a lot of factors last year that won’t come up this year,” D’Antoni said. “I even told (Gasol), you make decisions based a lot of times on the future that probably, if you were just doing the competitive, basketball thing, the decision would have been something else.”

Gasol echoed that sentiment by saying:

“Obviously the franchise wanted Dwight to stay and everyone, or a lot of people, tried to make him comfortable and please him at times.”

Now that Howard is in Houston, and the Lakers are moving on from last season’s drama-filled year, Pau Gasol will be returning to the center position where he will be featured in an expected more fluid offense. Gasol’s health should be more consistent and sustainable, which strengthens the idea that he is poised for a much improved season.

Steve Nash also anticipate a more efficient and fluid offense with Gasol featured down low. D’Antoni is planning to runs many pick-and-rolls, where Gasol can either receive the pass for his own scoring opportunity or make a pass as Gasol has the basketball IQ that allows him to make the right plays.

Expectations for this season’s Lakers may be drastically different than last year, but all is not lost with the purple and gold. With solid acquisitions this offseason and a hopefully healthy squad, only time will tell just how this Lakers team will turn out.

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About The Author

Elizabeth is a graduate from Arizona State University and has her master's from Duquesne University. She is currently an associate editor at Lakers Nation. To read more of Elizabeth's articles click here. You can also follow Elizabeth on Twitter @Gobibs

Number of Entries : 381
  • 3339

    seriously the dantoni quote on here might be one of the dumbest, most idiotic things I ever read.

    • Daryl Peek

      Why so? We actually saw it play out that way this past season. The same thing happened in 2010-11 under Phil when Bynum began to be featured.

      • Islesteelr

        I agree with u Daryl… The Lakers wanted DH so bad, Gasol took a back seat. Under just pure basketball sense, and not tryna appease a player, I don’t think Gasol gets benched! That’s why I think this whole Gasol “skills diminishing” thing is fulla crap! And people will see that… By no means was it a basketball decision. It was a Catering decision

        • ra

          And, Bynum knew how to play with Pau, which is why we won 2 championships. DH either didn’t know how to play with another ‘big’ on the same team (unit), or ‘did know’ and was holding back. Personally, I think he ‘doesn’t know’, in which case it would make sense for D’Antoni to try out a different scheme that would test out if DH would play better, and in which team configuration.

          At the time Nov-Dec-Jan, I was even thinking (before D’Antoni made the same move), that they should try Pau on the 2nd unit (or 1st, if DH was on the second) as the ’2nd Center’. I thought (because of the Championships the Lakers won the last few years), that having 2 bigs was a good thing.

          But, it appeared that since the team was moving forward with DH, they really had to try to see how DH would play as the only big on at least one unit (not ‘pandering’ to DH, but attempting to see how things worked out). If DH had remained, Pau might have been ‘let go’ (traded, whatever).

          Personally, I would want to see how team would play with just DH, and also alternating with Pau as center, just to know what to do for the future of the team (again, back in Nov-Dec-Jan).

          I “don’t think” DH plays well with other bigs in the same unit. I’m sure we’ll see how it plays out with Omar Asik.

          • Daryl Peek

            Bynum didn’t function well with Pau. He may have started games with Pau on the floor but Phil opted for LO and Pau most of the time. Bynum was rarely on the floor in the 4th quarter with Kobe and Pau.

            Gasol’s production decline coincides with Bynum being featured more starting in the second half of 2010-11 on… Phil never found that twin tower mix between them offensively and Brown had the same problem. Bynum began to express some of the same IRE towards Kobe Howard did. Bynum even spoke on it when he said in an interview, Howard is gonna have to adjust to playing with playing with Kobe.

            What most Laker fans don’t understand is how much of a post player Kobe really is. Pau is a post player. Bynum and Howard are post players. You only have one ball. Kobe LO and Pau work because Pau & Lo were passive. Once Shaq left Kobe was done with being a passive side kick to a big man. Bynum wanted his own shine. It seemed he was lashing out at Brown but it was Kobe.

            Both Brown and D’antoni tried to give Bynum and Howard shine but Kobe would take over if they weren’t going. Shaq explained this of Kobe on TNT. This is not a slight to Kobe by Shaq. Shaq was just saying Kobe gonna do what he has to do to win.

          • ra

            Kobe’s ‘post up’ game only started developing the last few years, after a visit by Hakeem Olajuwon. Yes, he was posting up before that, but he was taking a ‘lot more’ 3 pointers, and runs to the basket, in addition to a great mid-range game (much better than LeBron’s, who didn’t have any until recently). Kobe didn’t ‘ramp up’ a post up game until recently (dribbling the ball, backing into the basket, trying to get position), but how on earth could he possibly compete with big men in the post / paint?

            I don’t think Kobe ‘didn’t want’ the big men to score. It’s just that he would have to trust the big men to make it each time they get the ball in the post. If not, I don’t blame him for ‘taking over’. He can score, and he can play, and he is the greatest.

            Pop the ball to a big in the post, and it’s gotta go in. Give him a few more chances. If it’s not his night (the big), then take over. Makes sense. Wins championships.

          • ra

            Also, I was speaking about Bynum’s ability to play with Pau. And yes, Bynum’s level of play led to championships. Bynum could play with Pau. DH couldn’t. Bynum is ‘strictly’ a post-up player. DH isn’t. He’s just not as good at posting up as others (including Bynum, and Lopez, etc.). He’s going to need some training from Olajuwon.

            DH is a good shot blocker, and is an ‘athletic’ center, not a ‘dribble with the back to the basket then shoot’ type player.

            Years ago, I noticed similarities between DH’s potential level of play, and Wilt Chamberlain’s (the greatest basketball player ever). But DH could never even come close to Wilt. It’s too late for him. Wilt was already a high level baller when he was DH’s age.

            And forget Kareem (tied for best player). DH can’t do what he does. He’s a different type of player.

            But, there’s no denying that DH is one of the best defensive players in the NBA, and maybe even for a number of years. Great shot blocker, alters shots, etc.

            Just — can’t play with another big.

          • Daryl Peek

            Bynum played limited minutes in those finals apperences and was a non factor for the most part. Example, Bynum’s numbers in the 09 finals; 18 minutes a game. 5 pts, 3 reb, .6 assist, and .6 blks a game. These numbers are also on par with his contributions in playoff series also.

            Bynum was never a vital contributor to the championship runs. Again Phil benched him for LO and smaller ball when it counted.

        • hookedonnews

          Don’t agree. Gasol was not healthy from day 1. He missed 33 games due to injury. He had knee tindinitis and plantar fasciitis when he reported to training camp. His shooting was off. The reason Gasol was benched was because the stats showed that they played better without both of them on the floor together. D’Antoni wanted to bring Gasol off the bench so he could play center instead of power forward. Of course, Gasol’s ego couldn’t handle that. It was a basketball decision. Howard was going to be the center. That was not even a question. The only question was whether or not Gasol was going to be on the floor with him. They eventually went to a low-post offense that kept them both on the floor. None of that matters now. Howard is gone, and Gasol is back where he belongs.

          • Islesteelr

            Apparently, the Coach is saying the same thing. That it wasnt a bball decision. The fact that Howard refused to fit in the offense backs up that claim because a bball decision lands that kinda players butt on the bench. But we all know that wasnt gonna happen. The front office brought him to LA to be the face of the Franchise. Even if it meant changing the O to fit his desires, bench Pau, or put up a ridiculous banner up asking him to stay. All this with knowing he wasnt gonna fit in. We catered to a player who never gave guarantees about the future, hoping he chose to stay. All for naught. As far as Gasol having an ego, i disagree. For all intents and purpose, he was traded, and has yet to show any ill will. I think he has been undervalued the last couple years. Kobe would probably agree with that. But, like u said, none of it really matters. One thing i do agree about…. Gasol is back where he belongs.

    • Lakers4Life

      100% agree with you 3339. Dumbtoni is such an idiot all of his excuses sound as idiotic as his name at this point. Looking forward to that day he gets fired!!!

      • hookedonnews

        The Lakers had been trying to trade Gasol for at least 2 years. Howard was the priority, and Gasol was injured (tendinitis in knees, plantar fasciitis) most of the season. It’s not rocket science. Howard was the future, and Gasol was the past. The priority of management and the coaching staff was to keep Howard in LA. If D’Antoni said the sky was blue some people would call him an idiot.

        • 3339

          Dude stop trying to make dantoni seem like some poor victim.
          If you have pau gasol why not use him? That’s rediculous. That’s like phil jackson not playing mj in his final season with the bulls because they should get used to playing without him. Fact is that you play who you have right now. Dantoni is being criticized because of the moves he has made

          • Daryl Peek

            Ra, who is D’Antoni to go against the FO wishes? Again Mike brown moved Pau out of the post, Phil was under pressure to do so also. He finally gave in his last season as our HC. D’Antoni is absolutely right when he said sometimes this are done for the future’s consideration. This is no excuse for MDA, it’s reality.

          • 3339

            did you not see the way the Lakers played last year??? I’m so sick of these bullshit excuses. no training camp injuries, now trying to play for future? WHAT???? this is so stupid. I really can’t believe that some Laker fans are buying this bullshit.

          • Daryl Peek

            Did you see how the Lakers palyed in the 2011 playoffs under Phil? Did you see how the Lakers played under Phil in the 2004 finals? *Bullshit excuses blank glare*

          • 3339

            Lakers were at least around for more than a second in 2011 and 2004 unlike this last season.
            Every team deals with injuries. This past season the Bulls, Pacers, Celtics to name a few, yet had smart coaches that had a plan. There is a reason why teams dress 12 at a time for a game. it’s up to the coach to keep a plan in place. dantoni had no idea what to do from day 1. He was hoping for Nash to get healthy and make him look good again.

          • Daryl Peek

            Stop it man! Phil had a full training camp in 04 and 11 with years of experience with the roster he helped hand pick. He also didn’t have to deal with the pure number of injuries as D’antoni did this past year! If Kobe was injured in those years it would have been just as bad. Again Phil was hesitant about coaching the team because of the training camp plight. SMH

          • 3339

            yeah your so right it’s not like the team if 2004 didn’t have injuries, a Kobe legal situation, and egos clashing 24/7 yet somehow made it to the Finals. you’re reaching here man.
            Phil wasn’t hesitant for that reason. He wanted to think it over for health reasons. He had prostate cancer in 2011. Didn’t you know that? Thats serious shit. He wanted to think about if he was healthy enough for the battle of another season.

          • Daryl Peek

            Phil said he was hesitant because of the training camp plight. His health was a factor also. Please stop it! SMH

          • 3339

            he was going to accept the job.

          • Daryl Peek

            …that he was never gonna get because of Dr. Buss and the fact that Phil wanted FO power also.

          • 3339

            I can’t believe that some people are defending dantoni and what the Lakers management ( jim buss) did last season. you guys probably think the bucks had a good season as well.

          • Daryl Peek

            Typical oversimplification BS.

          • Daryl Peek

            ESPNLA 710 Radio ‏@ESPNLA7101h
            Jeanie: “Phil has said this team now is really going to do well under D’Antoni system. Before w/ Dwight, Phil felt he was better for DH”

            Again, it was Howard Phil was interested in coaching. Phil was never gonna get the job simply because Jerry didn’t want him. Phil is defending D’antoni now. He never spoke bad of him like most fans do.

          • 3339

            Phil said that he was shocked to have been passed over for dantoni and said that the Lakers were misusing Dwight and needed to post up Pau and Dwight more. Phil is very slick but was very critical of dantoni all season. the dantoni system is not a championship system.

          • Daryl Peek

            I remember him talking more about Howard’s injury and how he’s not the Howard we brought him here to be. That being said Phil never found the perfect balance of Bynum and Gasol together. He opted for Gasol and LO when it counted. Phil is very slick in his underhanded condescending public commentary and that’s one of the reasons Dr. Buss didn’t want him in the Lakers FO/ownership structure, IMO.

            Don’t get it twisted, that’s exactly what Phil ultimately wants at this stage of his life. Jeanie wants that too and that’s where she fell out with her Dad.

          • hookedonnews

            No one is trying to say D’Antoni is a victim or that every decision that he made was the correct one. He did use Gasol. Just because he wasn’t in a particular game at some point doesn’t mean that he wasn’t playing the majority of the time. MDA wasn’t going to put Howard on the bench and play Gasol at center or try to play Howard at the 4. No coach on the planet would have done that. The whole point of the article was that decisions were made sometimes because they wanted to keep Howard in LA. That’s not some shocking revelation. D’Antoni was brought to LA to run his system. Gasol did not fit that system as a power forward. D’Antoni tried to make that work, and it didn’t. The fact that Gasol was hurt didn’t help. If Gasol had been like Manu Ginobli and agreed to be the 6th man, a lot of problems could have been solved. Because he couldn’t accept that role and because he missed 33 games, it took a while for the system to be altered to allow Howard and Gasol to play effectively together. All this stuff would have been resolved during training camp if D’Antoni had been there before the season started. He would have had all the players there, and they could have established an identity. I know you believe that this could have all been done during the season on the fly with half the team injured at any one time, but that’s just not realistic. I know some people think he should have come in and immediately changed to some twin towers offense, but that’s not what management wanted. They wanted the offense that MDA is famous for. That’s why he was hired. You can’t blame him for wanting to implement his system. It’s easy to sit on the sidelines and say what should be done, but things aren’t all that simple out on the court and in the locker room.

          • Daryl Peek

            Well said Hookedonnews!

          • hookedonnews

            Thanks!

    • 2121

      Thats our laker coach right there… interested more in a big man popularity then winning games. So stupid! Im still surprised he still the lakers coach, he should b long gone already

      • Daryl Peek

        Get real 2121! Every team in the NBA was courting Howard. People kill me wanting to point fingers at D’Antoni in hind sight. It had nothing to do with popularity! Comprehend what’s being said. The entire Lakers FO saw Howard as the teams potential future, Jeanie/Jimmy/Jerry Buss. Hell Phil was on the outside trying to keep D12 in LA also. It was the thought of being able to coach Howard that peeked Phil’s interest in coaching again. He said in an HBO interview that situation (Howard with the Lakers) is the only one he was willing to come back and coach.

        • Zimmeredge

          D’antoni is not and never will be the problem of the lakers in the future. the problem was/is/will be Jim Buss. Talking about Pau’s ego, Dh’s ego, MD’a’s ego, Kobe’s ego… the problem is Jim Buss. It’s Jim Buss since day one. It’s Jim Buss since he didn’t listen to both Jackson and Kobe for Bryan Shaw and hired Mike Brown instead. It’s Jim Buss for not bringing back Phil Jackson last season but, instead, bringing in pieces from the Suns in our LAKERS organization just because Jim Buss was a fan of the run and gun and he wants to recreate that in LA. This guy is insulting our history.
          Mikan, Chamberlain, Kareem, Divac, O’Neal, Gasol.

          • Daryl Peek

            I’ve written this a million times trying to educate Laker fans that buy the ESPN/First take lies. Jim Buss was not the one who was done with Phil. It was Jerry Buss. It was Jerry Buss who fired Phil in 2004. It was Jerry Buss who wanted to fire Phil in 2008 after the team lost to the Celtics in the 08 finals. Jeerry Buss is was the ultimate fan of run and gun which is Showtime, his life long vision for all things Lakers. The decision to hire D’antoni was a collective one. Jimmy was the one who brought Phil into consideration then his dad convinced him not to hire him.

            There’s a video of a Dr. Buss interview where he speaks on all of this. Phil wants a place at the Lakers FO table/ownership more so than coaching the team at this stage of his life. In that video Dr. Buss was asked if he would ever consider giving Phil a stake at the table and he said; “ABSOLUTELY NOT! the Lakers belong to my children and that’s the way it’s gonna be!” I would post the video but Lakers Nation would delete my comments.

          • hookedonnews

            I wish all Laker fans understood this, but very few do.

          • 3339

            you guys are annoying as shit. Laker fans are not stupid. We saw a disorganized mess last season highlighted by one excuse after another. We don’t criticize for no damn reason. It took a Kobe Bryant injury in the final week of the season for dantoni to finally realize that Dwight and Pau could play together.

          • Daryl Peek

            Organized mess was 04 and 11 also. You are annoying also! You want to say excuses but excuse those other examples where Phil had a much better foundation with the proper time to prep said rosters?

            I agree D12 and Pau could play together and that was D’Antoni’s mistake but to ignore the “Stay” factor coupled with ALL of the injuries is straight foolishness!

          • hookedonnews

            Either you weren’t watching the games or you have forgotten. As soon as Pau came back from his foot surgery, he was playing in the post with Howard. It had nothing to do with Kobe. No one is saying Laker fans are stupid (although it stands to reason that there are stupid people in any group). The fact is that too many people base their opinions on people like Stephen A. Smith. He knows less about what went on with the Lakers this season than I do. Not because I’m a genius, but because I watch or listen to ALL the games (he doesn’t and neither do most of these sports pundits), and I listen to what coaches and players are saying. I think you and I may have some common ground. You just want to say D’Antoni’s an idiot, and that the Lakers could have had a much better season if not for him. I’m saying he made a few mistakes which were understandable given all the factors I’ve already listed, and no coach could have overcome the injuries and other things he was dealing with.

          • Zimmeredge

            oh ok… so how do you explain that if his brilliant son Jimmy was the one who came up with the idea of bringing Phil Jackson back when Dr Buss was still alive. How do you explain that this summer, Jerry Buss being dead 6 months ago, the young Buss isn’t doing the right thing to “save” the franchise?
            Stephen A. , Skip I listen to their shows of course but i’m not buying it. I can make my point of view out of what i read on my own you know.
            What I see is that this organization (my beloved Lakers) isn’t going well since 2/3 years they are not doing the right thing to put confidence in the players. Jerry Buss wasn’t running the show for years now. He stepped down for months or years.

          • Daryl Peek

            Jerry Buss was a part of the process last summer. His advice to his son was always considered. Dr. Buss was on board with Bringing D12 to LA. D-12 even said he met with Dr. Buss.

            In 2005 Dr. Buss said all decisions were a collective he, Jimmy and Mitch all came together on. Stop believing the media and go get the word straight from the horses mouth. The info is out there.

    • hookedonnews

      What’s dumb about understanding that this guy was supposed to be the future face of the franchise, and they wanted to keep him happy so he would re-sign with the team? He was going to be the center. Period. Pau wasn’t healthy for much of the season, and that was also a factor. What do you think you would have been saying if D’Antoni had put Pau at center and benched Howard? Howard doesn’t have the skills to play power forward. What D’Antoni did was what any coach would have done. Howard is the best center in the league. Keeping him in LA was the #1 priority of the team.

      • 3339

        So what? worry about the future when it gets here. He seriously just wasted Pau for a whole season just because he thought dwight would be here and Pau would be gone this upcoming season. dantoni seriously sucks. The man that management passed up would’ve played Pau and Dwight together and it would’ve been effective.
        I seriously don’t understand how you or anyone can defend what dantoni did last year.

        • hookedonnews

          Because I’m realistic about what a coach can do under the circumstances that D’Antoni was dealing with. PJ could not have changed the fact that Gasol was playing on 2 bad knees and a bad foot. He also could not have changed the 37 games Blake missed, the 32 Nash missed, the half a season Hill missed, or the 33 games Pau missed. It’s really irrelevant, however, to speculate on what would have happened if PJ had been hired. Dwight and Pau did play together later in the season when Pau was finally healthier. I didn’t expect the impossible, which would have been going any farther than they did with the injuries they had. D’Antoni didn’t know if Dwight would be here next season or not, but he is the best center in the league and was going to be given precedence over someone who’s not healthy and likely to be gone the next season. If Howard had stayed, Gasol would probably have been traded.

          • Zimmeredge

            when your future face express the will to play with phil jackson at the beginning of the season then at the end of it you listen to him you don’t change plan overnight and hire D’antoni and keep D’antoni. Is it D’antoni mistake? No it’s Jim Buss’ problem and he is the one responsible for what is hapenning in LA. I’m not blaming D’antoni. This team was not buit for his type of play anyway. We will be better with him as our coach this season (but he will have much more pressure this season).

          • Daryl Peek

            Kobe wanted Brian Shaw but never really spoke out about the team not going that way. Why? Because he knows the FO is not gonna allow a player to dictate who they hire as HC. This is via Dr. Buss not Jimmy.

          • hookedonnews

            I’m not sure there will be more pressure because the expectations will be lower. No one is expecting them to be in the Finals. Everyone is pretty much looking to 2014. There will always be pressure because it’s the Lakers, but the expectations last season were unreasonable considering that Howard was just coming off back surgery, and the team hadn’t played one minute together as a team.

  • Jim213

    Makes sense…

  • Qing Zhang

    Houston fans claims Howard is now committed to run PNR with Harden, which makes him the biggest bitch in the world for purposely not doing what a team ask him to do while getting paid.

    • Daryl Peek

      I scratched my head on that one also. Nash and Howard should have been devastating! What it boils down to is the fact that Howard really didn’t want to play second fiddle to Kobe.

      • ra

        Agree. Back injury aside, DH didn’t try hard enough to fit into the system. It’s not Pau’s fault, and I also think Kobe gave DH a chance too. Kobe started out the year claiming that DH would be the face of the franchise after he (Kobe) left. I think, at that time, Kobe was less sure that he would be playing 3 or 4 more years with the Lakers.

        But DH never stepped up, which is why Kobe had to take over ‘again’, and then blow out his Achilles (which sucked). And, Kobe also knew that DH was leaving, so his comment about staying around 3 – 4 years was with that knowledge – it wasn’t (like some said) the reason that DH left. DH didn’t commit to LA, and even the fans ‘knew’ that.

        • hookedonnews

          I don’t think that Kobe knew DH was leaving, but his statement that he was going to play another 3 years probably sent him on his way. He wanted to be the focus of the offense, and he knew that wasn’t going to happen as long as Kobe was there. He wants to be the STAR. He also didn’t enjoy playing with Kobe and having him on his case. All that being said, it’s just as well that he’s gone if he wasn’t going to buy into the offense. No one wanted to see another year of him being stripped of the ball and shooting less than 50% on his FTs. Houston will find out soon enough what they’re dealing with.

          • ra

            Ah no. Kobe knew DH would leave at that time (the end of the year), compared with what he expressed at the beginning of the year. You didn’t hear statements from Kobe like “oh, he’s going to be the face of the franchise”. Instead you heard statements like “DH’s decision to stay or go is up to him. Whatever is in his best interests”. That’s not a statement you make knowing for sure that someone will stay.

            You think he didn’t pick up ‘subtle’ queues actually being ‘around’ DH? Things that we (fans, even media) would ‘never’ see? They know a lot more than ‘we’ do, and they (team members, etc.) know what’s going on and certain things (feelings about how things will play out) that we will never know.

            It’s ridiculous to think that DH was just ‘teetering’ on Kobe’s ‘one’ statement about sticking around. DH was making inclinations about leaving (esp. toward the end), and that was even obvious to me.

            Steve Nash (one of the people in the last meeting with DH) was making a ‘last pitch’ for DH to stay. “Pitch for him to stay” (meaning, he was on the serious verge of leaving at that time, and the Lakers had to make some type of case for him to stay, rather than have some type of ‘welcome to LA for a few years’ meeting).

            Kobe knew, for sure. And … Kobe studied under the Phil Jackson school of ‘specific information dissemination’. It’s meant to create a particular impression to the media.

          • hookedonnews

            Kobe’s statements don’t indicate that he knew Howard was leaving or staying. They indicate that he really didn’t want him to stay. If he had wanted him to stay he would never have made the statements about playing for another 2 or 3 years until after Howard re-signed. Kobe’s not stupid. He knew that was not something Howard wanted to hear. He wants to be the star. He doesn’t want to play second fiddle to Kobe, and he made it clear that he didn’t enjoy playing with him. I’m sure you’re aware that he asked the team to amnesty Kobe. Even with all that, Howard had second thoughts after he had indicated that he was going to Houston. Everyone knows how indecisive Dwight Howard is. Every team that wanted to sign Howard met with him. The Lakers were just the last ones. If Kobe had wanted Howard to stay he might have been able to make that happen by saying the right things. He didn’t do that. That tells me he really didn’t want him to stick around.

          • ra

            That statement (2-3 years) came at the end of the year. At the beginning of the year, and last summer, Kobe was concerned that he (Kobe) was getting a little tired, after having played 17+ years. He clearly mentioned that he wanted to “make sure that the franchise (Lakers) had someone to replace him as the ‘face of the franchise’.

            A statement like that does NOT indicate that he wanted DH to leave. During the year, Kobe did mention continuing to play, but he did NOT specify the Lakers. He was mentioning things like playing overseas (Italy), or just ‘playing’. He never mentioned the Lakers (in the beginning).

            It was not clear (to anyone) what Kobe specifically intended to do (not to me, or anyone in the media – did you know something?). He appeared to be leaving options open, but he DID clearly mention DH as the inheritor of the Lakers franchise. That indicates he did not want him to go (at that time).

            However, by the end of the year, it was clear (to him) that DH would go. So, he was very ‘cavalier’ about the statement saying he would play at a ‘high level’ for 3-4 years. It had no effect on what already was going to transpire – he didn’t ‘chase DH away’ with that statement. That’s ridiculous. DH was going to go ‘anyway’.

          • ra

            One more clue that Kobe didn’t want DH to just ‘leave’, when DH first came there – Kobe ‘expected’ to win a championship this year.

            If that did happen, not only would Kobe feel safe that he could come ‘close’ to retirement (wouldn’t have to work but maybe another year to pass MJ in number of rings), but that DH was stepping up to the challenge.

            By the end of the year, it was clear the DH could NOT get to a championship (at least with the Lakers, and probably not anywhere else). So, why would Kobe (or anyone else in LA, for that matter) want DH to be around. The team worked to try to get things to work well with DH, but it didn’t happen. Players sacrificed their usual style to keep DH in a place where he could be a star. Both Pau and Nash changed their styles for DH.

            Even Kobe changed his style – recall that ‘stretch’ in which Kobe was averaging close to 10 dishes a game? For about a couple weeks, maybe? That’s not his game. He changed it for DH. Everyone changed for DH.

            .. and, DH did not rise to an elite level in LA (for whatever reason). Can’t blame Kobe for that.

          • hookedonnews

            The reason they wanted him is because he’s the best center in the league. They need his defense and rebounding. I agree that Pau had to change because of Howard, but Nash changed his game because of Kobe as well as Howard. Kobe didn’t take over the facilitating because of Howard. He did that because they had been losing games with him shooting 25/30 times a game. He knew things had to change so he decided to take over the point because he really didn’t want the ball in the hands of Nash. That’s not just my opinion either. You can’t really draw any conclusions from last season because of the injuries. Howard was never 100% either. He began to play better after the All-Star break, but he still had the bad shoulder. Everyone wanted Howard back except (as I am speculating) Kobe. I don’t think Kobe liked his attitude, and as I said, there’s only room for one star in LA. All this is a moot point now anyway. Howard is gone. Hopefully Kobe, Nash, and Pau will come back 100%, and there will be no clash of egos with Howard out of the picture. They will miss Howard’s presence at the rim and his rebounding. Someone is going to have to step up and fill that role.

          • Daryl Peek

            I don’t think anyone is blaming Kobe. That doesn’t change the fact that Howard didn’t want to play with Kobe. And that’s exactly why he left.

          • ra

            DH, Smush Parker – all members of the ‘scrubs who ‘can’t’ play with Kobe club’ (notice … can’t — meaning that it’s more that they are incapable of handling playing with someone professional and high achieving like Kobe, rather than a ‘want’.

          • Daryl Peek

            I disagree simply because I don’t take it personal as a Laker fan. Not everyone is gonna want to play with Kobe. That’s real. Again Bynum didn’t want to play second fiddle to Kobe once he tasted all-star level shine. LeBron will likely be the same.

            It’s not a matter of can’t. It’s a matter of team leader dynamic. Kobe said it best when speaking of why he and Shaq could last longer… “how long would Wilt and MJ have lasted together?”

            As for D12, the only problem I have with him is his disruptive manner as a Laker. His refusal to play pick and role with Nash was my issue.

          • hookedonnews

            Kobe made the statement about probably playing at least another 2 or 3 years (and the implication was clearly playing with the Lakers) at the end of the season when Howard was trying to make his decision about what to do. If he had wanted Howard to stay he could have said all the right things like “you will be the focus of the offense,” etc. and waited to make any statements about playing longer. When Howard came to the Lakers, the idea was that Kobe would play 2 more years and the team would be his. Kobe didn’t know what Howard was going to do because Howard is notorious for his inability to make a decision. I don’t think you can assume that Howard was going to go anyway. When I heard what Kobe had said I knew there was no way Howard would stay. Almost everyone who knows anything about the situation has said that Howard left because of Kobe. There’s only room for one star on the Lakers as long as Kobe is there.

          • Zimmeredge

            the day you’ll hear kobe saying “you will be la’s focus point of the offense” when the guy’s shiiting his pants every 4th quarter of every single match, can’t barely score more than 22-23ppg, doesn’t own post moves, doesn’t handle the ball well, can’t make free throws and gets fouled out (especially in a playoff game because he is stupid and mentally weak, come on everybody expected DH to step up his game and he was defeated by a 37yo Duncan, Blair and Bonner in fact the best player during post season was Pau Gasol)… that will never ever… ever happen. Even Steve Nash said he wasn’t a good pick player. On every single pnr Nash launched, Howard was belly-dancing with hands in the air and he was always rolling too soon. He was selfish and he was thinking to get his buckets.

            he wants to be the star? Fine but he will never be the star in Houston because of Harden. He will always be the sidekick because Harden is 23yo and he already scores a lot. He will play with another big men alongside him (Asik). He will never be THE star because you can’t count on Dwight.

          • hookedonnews

            I agree that he’s never going to be the star he wants to be. He had that in Orlando, but he wasn’t happy because he wanted a bigger stage. He’s still a great player, however, They did say he would be the focus of the offense at the beginning of the season. I didn’t say Kobe really believed Howard should be the focus of the offense. I was just saying what Kobe should have said if he really wanted Howard to stay, and he did the opposite.

          • Daryl Peek

            “DH’s decision to stay or go is up to him. Whatever is in his best interests”

            That was Kobe’s stance all the way through ra. Everyone knew it was not working all season.

    • Islesteelr

      Dwight’s a Chick…..

  • Steel Bill Moreland

    Howard was never a Laker.He is weak,injury prone,an a cry baby.And if he thinks Hardn is going to give him the ball,he is in for a rude awaking.Harden is the biggest ballhog in the NBA.But I am glad to see Gasol back at center where he belongs.But being at forward helped his game.Now he can take thoes other centers inside or outsde.

  • 3339

    ok seriously, dantoni wasted Pau just to try and please Dwight. management hired dantoni b/c they said that he was the best fit for this group.
    management is so full of shit

  • Eddie Lazaro

    MDA washing his hands to shake with Pau now? It was a little late to recognize the mistakes and much too late to discover the importance of it. This time will be no excuses Mike, you know how big it is (for you) at stakes.

    • Daryl Peek

      No excuses. MDA had no choice the same way Brown didn’t with Bynum. Phil was even under the pressure to feature Bynum in 2011. The FO has been looking for Kobe’s air apparent since 2011. Jimmy relented on his Bynum as the future after Bynum melted down in the 10-11 playoffs. This is why they tried to pull the CP3 deal with eyes on Howard going forward.

      Nash and Howard were the consolation plan after Stern. Rebuild in 2014 is now what’s at stake and building up the bench is the thing D’Antoni is here for. Many of these young players will be Lakers beyond this up coming season IMO. D’Antoni has been great at grooming role players his entire career.

      • Eddie Lazaro

        I know that most of these young additions will stay and I am glad we are heading back to grooming younger, cheaper recruits and turn them to stars. I have a very high hopes for this roster and can feel something big is about to happen.

        Regarding MDA on Gasol, WHY NOW? He should have just shut up and ignore the whole idea. Even before he made that claim, Pau already said he accepted what happened on benching him was experimental, the same with playing him out of his comfort position, which was due to the pressure of trying to win and please d12. Also not having a training camp and not having enough healthy players to have a roster that can compete. Just let it go. He is showing his weakness and guilt about his mistakes that he never fully accepted. Being a coach, he is the head and the leader of this team, should act and behave like one. Stick with your plan and implement your system with a common goal. Win or loose, man enough that whatever happens, you’re responsible. IT IS YOUR CALL, NO QUESTION ASKED.

        • Daryl Peek

          That all sounds good but it’s not Laker HC reality when you have no history to stand on.

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