The Lakers will try their best to keep Howard in Los Angeles, but as an unrestricted free agent, the center has the ability to join any team that his heart desires. Phil Jackson already said that Howard really has no reason to return to Los Angeles, and now another successful NBA coach has weighed in on the issue.
Howard’s former coach in Orlando, Stan Van Gundy, told Sports Talk Florida that he did not think Howard was happy with the role he had in the Lakers’ offense.
“I do think that Dwight was not real happy with his offensive role and he looks around and says, probably with Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash and Pau Gasol, you know, I’m going to have to at best share billing. I’m not going to be the featured guy. I don’t know, maybe he wants to go somewhere else, I don’t know about that, but I don’t think he’s going to make a decision on the fact that Steve Clifford (if Clifford gets a head coaching job) or Chuck Person aren’t there.”
This will be a major roadblock in the Lakers’ pursuit for Howard in the summer, trying to convince him that the system can work for him despite all the stars on the team already. Howard was clearly frustrated with how the Lakers used this him this past season, and if D’Antoni remains the coach, it will be interesting to see what changes are implemented.
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