SH Blog: Popovich Explodes on Dwight; Mitch Kupchak on Lakers Future; Where Will Josh Smith Land?

With just over 24 hours until the NBA trade deadline, rumors are swirling and NBA players and GMs are contemplating their futures.

Be careful what you put stock into, though.

Between now and 3 P.M. Thursday afternoon, virtually every team will have a conversation about a trade. But that doesn’t mean every team will make one. Whether they are gauging interest in their own players or checking in on the availability of another, it is all about posturing for the best position on the market, and why so many trade rumors end up being, well, just another trade rumor.

As of Wednesday afternoon, here’s what we do know: It will be a major surprise if Josh Smith is not traded. JJ Redick is a valued commodity by Milwaukee, Minnesota, Indiana, Chicago and New York (who is adamant about keeping Iman Shumpert). The Oklahoma City are looking to tweak the roster. The San Antonio Spurs are looking to bolster theirs. Boston has no idea what it’s doing, and neither do the Clippers, but maybe they will do something together. Oh, and Dwight Howard may or may not be (but probably isn’t but maybe should be) available.

What we don’t know?

How much stock to put into any of that.

Onto the news: Dwight Howard and the Los Angeles Lakers

  • In a revealing interview Tuesday morning with Mike and Mike on ESPN Radio, Stephen A. Smith provided a look into the mind of Dwight Howard and the Los Angeles Lakers moving forward. Smith made some excellent points, the bulk of which can be read below. The full interview can be heard here.
  • Smith on the Lakers management:  “I don’t care what the Lakers say. Mitch Kupchak is too reputable of a General Manager for you to convince me that in my 18 years of covering the NBA that this man absolutely positively signed off on everything Jim Buss wanted to do. Everything that has something to do with the identity of this team, he (Buss) wants to make sure that his voice is the final voice. That’s the problem with the Lakers right now and it’s going to be a problem until somebody else steps in and says enough is enough.”
  • Smith on Dwight’s immaturity:  “Coach Gregg Popovich dropped a few F-bombs in Dwight Howards direction during All-Star break. During a timeout Pop drew up a play for Dwight Howard, except when it was time to run the play, Dwight Howard wasn’t in the game, wasn’t paying attention. He was on the bench in his warm-ups, chilling out and socializing with folks. Pop almost went ballistic.”
  • Smith on Kobe/Dwight:  “Guys on the Eastern Conference All-Star team are saying they didn’t see Kobe look at him, let alone talk to him. These are the kind of things that will resonate in a way that will effect Dwight negatively. He’s got to work on the perception that’s out there about him that he doesn’t take the game seriously.”
  • Smith on Dwight leaving LA:  “He doesn’t want to be there. The man wanted to go to Brooklyn. He opted in out of guilt. The bottom line is that he didn’t want to be there, he didn’t want to be LA. But Brooklyn was his first choice, Dallas was his second choice, Atlanta was a distant third. It’s Brooklyn and it’s Dallas and it’s Brooklyn all over again. He wants to be in Brooklyn. That’s the problem, he never really wanted to be in LA and that’s what’s coming out.”
  • Smith on if a deal will get done before the deadline: “I think its 25 percent that a deal gets done and 75 percent that it wont. Only because it’s Jim Buss making the decision. Anybody with sense would tell you that you don’t sit there and trust Dwight Howard to re-up, you don’t hold yourself hostage for 4 ½ months if you’re the Lakers because that’s not the place he wants to be. If it were the Brooklyn Nets it would be different, but if you’re the Lakers you don’t do it, you make a deal and make sure he can’t leave you high and dry for nothing.”
  • While Stephen A. Smith made such declarations this morning, Lakers’ GM Mitch Kupchak spoke with ESPN’s Colin Cowherd early this afternoon. Kupchak was adamant about Dwight Howard being unavailable. Again, the full interview can be heard here, while the notable quotes can be read below: 
  • Kupchak on Howard and Kobe’s relationship: “…. I think it’s a work in progress. That’s probably the best way to say it.”
  • Kupchak on trading Dwight: “No. We’ve been very consistent. We’re not trading Dwight Howard. I cannot prevent people from saying things but he will not be traded and there’s nothing anybody can do today to call me and ask me ‘would you do this’ and get a positive response.” 
  • Kupchak on Dwight’s future: “Dwight is our future. He deserves to have his name on the wall and a statue in front of Staples at some point in time.”
Mitch Kupchak with an EXTRA LONG pause when asked how he would categorize Kobe and Dwight's relationship.
Arash Markazi
Kupchak said people will view Dwight Howard differently when he wins his first championship. (Bigger question is will that happen in LA?)
Arash Markazi


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