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Saturday, July 6th, 2013 at 12:55 am  |  54 responses

Dwight Howard Asked the Los Angeles Lakers to Hire Phil Jackson


Having spurned the Los Angeles Lakers and now prepared to sign with the Houston Rockets, Dwight Howard opened up to the press about his decision. Howard claims that Kobe Bryant had nothing to do with his choice to leave  – despite KB’s very large role in the Lakers’ recruitment process of the NBA’s most coveted free agent, and his icy reaction to the departure — but did reveal that he asked the team to hire Phil Jackson (who tried and failed to lure him back to Hollywood.) Per Hoopsworld: “Why did you select the Rockets over the other four teams you met with? Dwight Howard: ‘I felt like Houston was the best fit for me. I felt that James and I would really have an opportunity to grow together. I felt like having a coach like Kevin McHale and having Hakeem Olajuwon, who’s in Houston, can really help me grow as a player – help me as a post player and help my overall game. It was very appealing. I felt like this was a great opportunity for me to start fresh. I’m just looking forward to this opportunity.’ [...] Was it tough walking away from a franchise like the Lakers? They really haven’t lost a marquee free agent before. DH: ‘Very tough. Very, very, very tough. Very, very tough. People wouldn’t understand. Walking away from them and walking away from $30 million. That shows you right there that I want to win. I want to win. Nothing else matters other than winning. I don’t think anybody would’ve ever walked away from $30 million, but I want to win. But yeah, just walking away was tough. I was walking away from six million fans. I was walking away from a storied franchise. All of that makes it tough and it makes it a really, really big risk. I learned a lot from the situation in Orlando though, when I was afraid to walk away because I didn’t want to hurt people. I was afraid to leave because everything seemed like it was great. But now, I’m doing what’s best for Dwight. People are going to be mad and upset either way, so I’d rather be happy. I want to be happy playing basketball rather than upset doing what everyone wants me to do.’ What did you think of Kobe Bryant’s comments that he could teach you how to be a winner? DH: ‘He didn’t say anything of that sort. People twisted a lot of stuff that he said. But in my personal opinion, I’m a winner. I’m a winner because I’ve been playing for nine years when the average career for an NBA player is three years. I’m a winner because I made it to the NBA from a small school in Atlanta, GA, with 16 people in a class. I’m a winner because I’m succeeding in life. I’ve had problems and I’m not better than the next man, but I’m going to push myself to be a winner when it comes to winning a championship. But he didn’t say anything like that and a lot of people twisted what he did say.’ If Phil Jackson had been more involved with the Lakers or coaching the team, would that have affected your decision? DH: ‘Well, I asked to have him as my coach earlier in the year. (pause) The best decision for me was to do what’s best for Dwight. I think this is the best thing for me. This wasn’t a decision about anybody else. I didn’t have anybody pushing me to do anything. This is what Dwight wanted.’”

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  • Zak

    god damn i hate when they refer to themselves in the third person

  • Sardo Numspa

    That may be true Dwight… maybe. But to me I hope u never win. You’ve wasted so many people’s time and all because of your vainglorious holier than thee attitude… If i was a NBA exec I would stay the F**k away from u for the rest of yr career…

  • LP @ThisisEther

    He’s a free agent, let him choose his team…

  • roscoe

    Watch out below!

    1 mental midget headed to HOU.

    good luck w/ that goofball of a pro that will never win a chip…

  • Redd

    GS was the better choice, but it’s cool this guy is truly worse than Lebron.

  • 15knicks

    “I did what was best for Dwight. Because in the end Dwight is a douche who refers to myself the 3rd person.”

  • roscoe

    but seriously… why is doing what is best for dh12 a bad thing?

    if he did what was best for himself that’s okay, right?

  • roscoe

    your just saying that, bc its in vogue.

    after a noah/MIA post game interview you’ll be back to your old ways.

    cheer dh12 fan, its okay!

  • robb

    When the Lakers made their pitch to Dwight yesterday D’Antoni wasn’t even at the meeting, he couldn’t be bothered. What does that tell you? Like I’ve said, I love my Lakers, I dislike Dwight, he can be many things, but this decision he took was the right thing for him because with D’Antoni on board they’re not getting anywhere. Had the Lakers hired Phil, this would be a whole different story.

  • Junior Taylor

    I have never been a huge DH fan but I wholeheartedly agree with his decision. Hou was the best spot for him as an all-star big man with McHale as your head coach and the Dream as a mentor. Who better to learn from about mastering the low post game than those two.

  • Will Lee

    i’d rather have a honest howard than an indecisive man who tells obviously lies like those corporate executives.

  • hoodsnake

    Kobe was salty by deleting DH off his twitter. Heres hoping the 2nd seed Rockets and 7th seed Lakers meet in the playoffs.

  • grgeblck

    Houston Rockets didnt promise DH championships. They simply show him steps to championships. No one can be winners in one day.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    As one of the few Rockets fans on this comment board… F*CK YEAH.

  • underdog

    His departure from Orlando and his quality of play in LA really made me careful to say anything about DH, because most of the times he either sounded like a diva or just an idiot. But this statement right here shows how much he grew as a man. He made his own decision and he tried not to hurt too many feelings along the way. I wish, his upcoming seasons in Huston will be much better than the last several he had in LA, an in Orlando. And as somebody who really wanted to see Kobe to play for a real contender in the end of his career – thank you Lakers for hiring D’Antoni – S.M.H.

  • spit hot fiyah

    It would be great to Watch but i just dont se thé Lakers making thé platoffs

  • Kobesbestfriend

    So long Dwight…I hope Harden likes hacka-Dwight defense cuz that’s all he’ll see in the playoffs if u thought Asik was bad wait til u see this dummy at the line.

  • Kobesbestfriend

    He didn’t want Phil…if he thought Kobe was tough on him then he woulda cried like the little girl he is after 1 practice under the zen master!u think he woulda put up with u smiling after air balling a freethrow or getting outplayed by d-leaguers in the playoffs?bye bye Dwight dont let the staples center door hit u on the way out!

  • OfftheWall87

    Heard he was there, but he didn’t say a word to Dwight.

  • OfftheWall87

    Fans have to understand that players don’t belong to them. Especially free agents. People get so sensitive for no good reason especially fans of these great franchises. If Dwight would have decided to stay in LA, Laker fans would either love him or not love him, but stay quiet about it because they know he’s still the best center in the league. A fickle bunch. He handled it very well.

  • mike

    Thats why he’s not a winner…..becuz he already feels like he won. I remember the great saying, the way to be #1 is to always train like your #2

  • Dagger

    No doubt Dwight Howard made the right decision, but in this interview he:

    -Exaggerated how much money he would lose by moving to the Rockets.
    -Threw his former coach under the bus one last time.
    -Suggested that he’s a winner like Kobe because he has “been playing for nine years when the average career for an NBA player is three years.”
    -Used phrases like “this is what Dwight wanted.’”

    Lakers fans, did you really want to be cheering for this guy for 5 years? Your franchise is better than that.

  • Dfrance

    You wouldn’t last long in the league as a GM, staying away from the best talent because you think they’re a diva.

  • https://twitter.com/Wayne__o BuenoWayno1

    Lake fans are SO dramatic….

  • Junkie

    All I got from this was that Dwight needed to expand his vocabulary past really really really really really really tough.

  • fruizm

    Why do you take it so personal??

  • Junkie

    At the same time maybe the Lakers told him to shut up

  • Lakers Just Winchampoinships

    Purdy much sums it up. Dimwit used his one year of rehab to wear a Lakers jersey then scratch it off “Delights” bucket list. What a user loser, He could have picked the Rockets earlier when his choice was obvious like Chris Paul but nooo! Once again he milked it for all it was worth starting in Orlando. He will probably miss more games than he plays for the Rockets by multiple injuries to his ego. Buy some tall cowboy boots Dewhat- you need them to wade through all your B S pity parties.

  • Conor

    Amen.

  • Guest

    Man, just STFO and GTFO dwight. You cant ruin another man’s profession and life liek u always do liek that, u big baby.

  • Lakers Just Winchampoinships

    HOUSTON!!!! You have a “problem”! Have fun imploding

  • Pedro

    Dude’s gotta stop referring to himself in the third person.

  • Lakers Just Winchampoinships

    Yeah, they told Howard to shut up and grow a pair so he left—–end of story

  • Lakers Just Winchampoinships

    HOUSTON——–we have a problem(child)

  • http://30homegames.tumblr.com/ 30HomeGames

    “You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain” seems to be how the NBA is going with its superstars. LeBron repaired his image with CHIPs. DRose and D12 will havev to do the same. Interesting to see who the media hypes as the new bad guy

  • Caboose

    I find it funny how fans assert that players get Monstarred once they play for the Lakers:
    -Pau Gasol used to be one of the best 4′s in the L taking the Grizz to the playoffs. Now he’s unathletic, soft, and a 6 th man at best.
    -Artest was the league’s best defender, now he’s crazy and can’t shoot.
    -Nash was a top 5 PG, now he’s just a glorified DFish.
    -Dwight was the best C bar none in Orlando. Now Cousins is better than him.
    -Kobe, well Kobe is perfect.

  • Junkie

    Was talking about D’Antoni lol but yeah that’s true too.

  • KingBenjamin

    The sad thing is, is that the Lakers would have been the favorites for the Dwight sweepstakes had they just fired D’Antoni and hired Phil. Dwight said when asked about Phil Jackson that “Well, I asked to have him as my coach earlier in the year”. When your trying to convince arguably the best center and top 5 player in the league when healthy to re-sign with your franchise and be the future of it, your supposed to cater to him so that he wants to stay, when he tells you I want Phil Jackson to be my coach than you give Phil Jackson the job and not D’Antoni. The Lakers simply didn’t do that, they didn’t hire Phil simply because Jim Buss is a jealous of him and because he can’t be half the man that Phil is.

    Dwight’s also said “I felt like having a coach like Kevin McHale and having Hakeem Olajuwon, who’s in Houston, can really help me grow as a player – help me as a post player and help my overall game”, basically implying that no one else in the league can offer that. Well, the Lakers could have offered that had they hired Phil Jackson who would have been Howard’s coach and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who would have been Howard’s mentor.

    But as a Lakers fan I don’t even blame Dwight for leaving, all the blame is on Jim Buss. The guy has single-handedly destroyed the Lakers franchise that took his father 30+ years to build all in one season, the guy simply doesn’t listen to anyone and does what he wants. All he had to was fire D’Antoni once the season ended and they would have been front runners for Dwight. Of course Dwight isn’t going to go up to him and say “fire Mike”, why? Dwight is so sensitive to media scrutiny and doesn’t want to be labeled as a “Coach Killer”, but he’s implied so many times that he wants a coach that fits him better. Dwight wanted to help out Lakers Nation and get Phil back but he simply couldn’t because Jim is best buds with D’Antoni and he HATES Phil Jackson. So the blame shouldn’t be on Dwight it’s all on Jim Buss. Jim Buss didn’t want to cater to Dwight but now Mr. Daryl Morey will cater to Dwight as he should.

    Can’t believe this happened to the LAKERS! Lakers got a franchise center and top 5 player in the league, were supposed to win a championship, then barely made the playoffs, and then that center decided not to re-sign with the Lakers. When could you ever say Lakers & rebuilding and then Clippers & championship all in the same sentence? Dr. Jerry Buss must be rolling over in his grave. R.I.P. Dr. Buss.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Lol GS was never a legitimate option. Stop believing ESPN

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Golden State never had a chance. For the thousandth time. ESPN perpetuating stories is fun and everything but that’s all they are. Stories.

  • pposse

    well said

  • Basketball_iQ

    This proves dwight is not the equivalent of Shaq,,,, if Shaq would’ve been in that team at the same age, championship.

  • Redd

    If not for Iggy, it was a better option but I’m sure GS felt they weren’t an option so they bounced to Iggy.

  • Redd

    You were born stupid huh?

    I’m sorry, did my opinion offend you? And the rest of your blabbering made no sense.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    LA was never helping the Warriors get Dwight. And the Warriors weren’t getting him without LA’s help. ESPN just didn’t want to say it.

  • RC

    you are the first person to EVER say Dwight handled free agency well. Have you watch ANY Sportscenter or read any Slam articles in the last 3 years. I do agree with you though that players do not belong to the fans. Dwight however did not handle this well. Put his foot in his mouth all too often. Look at his fellow free agent Chris Paul. Thats how you handle free agency. Kept his mouth shut all year. I cannot not vouch for Howard AT ALL

  • OfftheWall87

    When did he put his foot in his mouth since July 1st when he became a free agent? I’m not talking about the past 3 years because he wasn’t a free agent until 5 days ago. He didn’t say a word until yesterday. Everything was just speculation, even the reports that came out saying he had already made his decision when he hadn’t yet. He spoke with Stephen A. Smith. He sent out a tweet. And that was it. He informed every team that had met with him of his decision. He handled everything in Orlando badly. But this time, he did it the right way.

  • pepper my angus

    kobe cant do nothing wrong,hes the king of asia and niketalk.

  • Redd

    LA wanted Barnes, Klay, Bogut.

    LA was dealing but unfairly.

  • The Seed

    Lakers need to get rid of the Pringles man. I would not be surprise if Kobe, did leave after next year. I actually would not blame him, with Jim running the team.

  • buzzkillington

    weren’t you the one who said Dwight will NEVER leave LA?

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i definitely didn’t think he would. i don’t remember saying “never” – but if i did, i was totally wrong.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    yeah, that’s my point. LA wasn’t going to make any sort of fair offer for Dwight. And GS wasn’t going to give away their entire core to get him. So it was never going to happen.
    .
    LAL was never creating a juggernaut in their own division. And Golden State was never giving the Lakers a head start on rebuilding.

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