Dwight Howard should have never strong-armed his way to Los Angeles. And not to mince words, the Lakers were not wrong to have pursued Howard. But they should now strongly pursue other options.
Howard had made it perfectly clear that he did not have a yearning desire to play with the Los Angeles Lakers and the merciless pressure that comes with. Through all his immature ploys and indecisiveness in Orlando, it was clear that his motive was to be playing in Brooklyn at the start of the 2012-13 season.
Desperation and unhappiness make one more willing to change, though, and when it became obvious that starting the season with the Nets would not be possible, Howard half-heartedly circled back to his only ticket out of town: the Lakers.
If it wasn’t obvious immediately, it is now, IMHO. Howard’s heart is not in LA. When Dwight is unhappy, we know it. When Dwight is unhappy he consistently delivers the dysfunctional and self-destructive bents that continue to fuel the sports storylines. Storylines that have buried the Lakers in what bossman Chris Sheridan believes is the greatest peril they’ve faced since trading Shaq.
In sports and in life, the senses deceive from time to time, and it is prudent never to trust wholly those who have deceived us even once. There is a precedent for Howard’s recent behavior. When he’s unhappy he becomes isolated and passive-aggressive. He rambles around the locker room after losing 9-of-11, flaunting stat sheets. He says what we want to hear, but more often than not in an arrogant manner. And there is only one thing people in sports dislike more than arrogance.
As Howard continues to conduct himself with a disconcerting attitude on the court and in a distasteful manner in the locker room, the Lakers plan keeps spiraling deeper and deeper into the abyss. That sixth championship Kobe Bryant has been forever chasing has never been so far away. Two years removed from back-to-back titles, the Lakers have become the laughingstock of the league.
For the Lakers to say yes and continue to roll the dice with Dwight Howard as the future of its franchise would be the wrong answer. It’s no longer about his injured back, it’s about his non-existent backbone. He just doesn’t want it.