The postseason is over for one of the most disappointing Los Angeles Laker teams in history. At the center of it is Dwight Howard. Los Angeles was the focal point for what was probably the only interesting storyline at the end of the regular season, but the all the air left the tires once the post-season started. The Lakers made us all believe in a dream, then they splashed the water on our faces and woke us up.
The biggest question of the Lakers off-season is the same one as last year. Will Dwight Howard wear the purple and gold next year?
Let me tell you why he won’t.
1. Supporting Cast
The biggest criticism for a slew of superstars in the league is never winning a championship. Dwight Howard doesn’t want to retire and challenge Charles Barkley, Reggie Miller and Patrick Ewing for the title of the Best Player To Never Win a Ring. He came close in 2009 with a ragtag group of 3-point shooters, but ultimately fell to the Lakers, proving that as great as Dwight is, he needs a better team around him to get over the hump. This is especially true with super-teams like Miami waiting for him. With the likes of an aging Steve Nash, an cast-ridden Kobe, and Pau Gasol coming off of double knee surgery, Dwight is going to look at teams like Houston and realize that barring any major moves, the Lakers aren’t going to win any time soon.
2. Mike D’Antoni
Even if the Lakers were to somehow put together a decent roster in this offseason, they still have Mike D’Antoni signed for two more years. With D’Antoni coaching a run-and-gun, point-guard heavy style, Dwight Howard is sure to question how he fits into the up-tempo offense. While D’Antoni has shown some flexibility and effectiveness taking advantage of the two big-men in Dwight and Pau, D’Antoni’s ability to coach this Laker team well has been called into question.
The moment Kobe Bryant went down with a torn achilles, pundits began to speculate the effects Kobe’s absence would have on Dwight’s decision to stay or leave. Kobe’s return is a Catch-22 for Dwight. If and when Kobe returns, then he takes head honcho in Los Angeles. Dwight is a side-kick again. If Kobe is out for a while, the Lakers don’t have a chance of making a significant play-off run. Dwight can be king, but is it a kingdom he wants to be in?
The Lakers are building a history of talented centers leaving their franchise in controversy. With Dwight’s ejection from Game 4 of the Spurs series, one can’t help but draw comparisons to how Andrew Bynum left L.A. Unnecessary ejections in Game 4 of a sweep seems to be the new trend for the Laker centers. If that’s the case, then perhaps Dwight should have pulled off his jersey too, because it looks like he won’t be needing it.