Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013 at 9:50 am  |  10 responses

Lakers GM Denies Rift Between Dwight Howard and Mike D’Antoni

After a report came out that soon-to-be free agent center Dwight Howard was none too pleased with his coach, Los Angeles Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak tried to step in front of the story, and said there was no major problem between Howard and Mike D’Antoni. Per the OC Register (via Sulia): “Kupchak said he didn’t want any D’Antoni talk from Dwight anyway given Mitch’s insistence that Lakers won’t have any player dictate the coaching situation. ‘To be honest with you, I wouldn’t let it go there anyway,’ he said. Howard and Kupchak spoke privately, same as some other Lakers did with the GM, after finishing their standard meeting with D’Antoni on April 30. But Kupchak said there was no talk with Howard about D’Antoni once he left the room — and certainly no venting. Kupchak has worked to gain Dwight’s trust this season but would not specify if there were any other discussions about D’Antoni. Regardless, Kupchak was clear that he isn’t worried about it, especially after D’Antoni featured Dwight more and won more games late in the season. Said Kupchak: ‘I’m not saying they don’t have differences like with any coach or any player. I don’t think it’s anything that goes beyond.’”

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  • lakerfan

    Dwight, if lakers don’t bring Phil back, go to Rockets with a great coach. I am a laker fan but can’t stand the coach.

  • Doreen B.

    Get rid of both D’Antoni and Howard ( a big baby ). Start building for the future NOW. This is all nonsense anyway. Howard wants to control and he should not be allowed to have his own way all the time. D’Antoni is stubborn and won’t change his coaching ways for an older team not able to run. They are still a great team and need a coach who understands that. Please keep Pau and start training some centers. Come on Mitch! You can do it!

  • hookedonnews

    Phil doesn’t want to come back if you’re listening to what he’s saying. He doesn’t want to coach. Why don’t you give D’Antoni a chance to coach for a full season with a training camp and healthy players before you decide how you feel about him? Trying to judge him under the circumstances he faced this season is not really fair. No, he’s not Phil Jackson, but that doesn’t mean he can’t coach.

  • bike

    ‘Kupchak has worked to gain Dwight’s trust this season’

    Mitch Kupchak; The Dwight Whisperer

  • hookedonnews

    Disagreements and tensions between players and coaches is nothing new. But any team that allows a player to dictate who the coach is going to be is going down a path that’s going to bite them in the end (no pun intended). They didn’t allow Kobe to do that when Phil Jackson retired (he wanted Brian Shaw), and they aren’t going to do it with Dwight Howard. I think it’s especially important with Howard because of his track record in Orlando. If he goes to Houston he’s going to find out that Kevin McHale isn’t going to let him dictate to him either. Howard needs to grow up and worry about his game and leave the coaching decisions to management.

  • Marty Susman

    I am so sick of hearing about Howard… I am not sure when he can be traded after he signs but if it is 5 seconds, do it….If not don’t let the door hit him on his way out…

  • Anomaly37

    I’d agree with this but is D’Antoni really going to learn to get Dwight the ball? Do you want to bet the entire damn Laker franchise on him? I for one don’t.

  • hookedonnews

    I don’t think we have a choice because MDA has a contract, and Kupchak has said he’s coming back. The Lakers are not going to let a player dictate who the coach is going to be. D’Antoni knows how to get the ball to Howard. I could give you a boatload of reasons why Howard wasn’t more successful this season (none of them being the fault of D’Antoni), but I don’t want to write a book here. There’s no reason to believe that next season will be a repeat of this season. We’ll just have to hope that Howard realizes that, and that the opportunity to play for one of the most storied franchises in NBA history will be enough to keep him in LA. If he leaves it will probably be because of Kobe or because Houston has a younger team. I doubt that it will be because of MDA. If he wants to play half-court, post-up basketball, he’s not going to find that in Houston. He’s more likely to find it in LA if the end of the season is any indication.

  • nlruizjr

    No, he’s already proven that he can’t win a championship, even with a training camp, get real he had 4 superstars and barely made the playoffs. He didn’t have training camp, is all BS which only a rookie coach could use and that’s not Dumbtoni !!!!!

  • hookedonnews

    He had 4 superstars? Howard came back early from back surgery and had a torn labrum in his shoulder. Nash missed 30 games with a broken leg and hip/hamstring/nerve injuries and played less than 100% the whole season. Gasol came into the season with bad knees and plantar fasciitis, suffered a concussion, tore his plantar fascia, and had a finger injury requiring a splint during the playoffs. He missed 33 games. Kobe had an ankle injury, bone spurs, and a torn Achilles. This doesn’t include the injuries to MWP, Jamison, Meeks, Hill, and Blake (missed 37 games). Apparently you don’t understand the importance of a training camp when you’re coming to a new team with a new system. The fact that they were able to practice very little during the season partly because of all the injuries didn’t help. It took the Heat more than one season to win a championship with their big 3, and they had none of these issues. No, D’Antoni hasn’t won a championship, but he took a 29 win team in Phoenix to the Western Conference Finals with 62 wins in his first year there and went back the following year with injuries to 2 of their best players. Jerry Sloan has never won a championship either, but no one questions his coaching ability. D’Antoni is not making excuses. These are facts that I am pointing out. You are entitled to your opinion, but an opinion should be based on reality, not on the fact that you don’t like the man.