Welcome to the Dwightmare Sequel, Hollywood’s biggest blockbuster this summer.
The Los Angeles Lakers don’t know what Dwight Howard is going to do as a free agent, but one thing seems clear: he’s not happy with the way head coach Mike D’Antoni utilized him on the court, and the big fella felt that his voice was rarely heard in the locker room.
Howard was one of several Lakers — Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol being the most noteworthy — to have an extended separate meeting with (GM Mitch Kupchak) after his exit interview with both Kupchak and D’Antoni, multiple sources confirmed. According to sources with knowledge of the situation, part of the discussion between Howard and Kupchak centered around Howard’s frustration with D’Antoni — particularly how the center felt marginalized as the coach looked to Bryant and Steve Nash for leadership and suggestions and discounted Howard’s voice. Every player was afforded the opportunity to meet with Kupchak individually after D’Antoni left the room, but few spent as much time as Howard and Kupchak did together.
Kupchak left the meeting with Howard undeterred, telling reporters he was “hopeful” and “optimistic” that Howard would be back with the Lakers next season and beyond, yet there have been several developments in the last couple weeks that could have an effect on Howard’s decision.
The report goes on to say that Howard also wasn’t thrilled that assistant coach Chuck Person was let go.
For what it’s worth, the Lakers publicly supported their coach, and said his job was safe heading into next season.
The front-office said they were confident in their ability to retain the franchise center, but it’s clear there are plenty of reasons to be nervous if you’re a Lakers fan and teammate of Dwight Howard as his free agent decision looms.