It was quite obvious something wasn’t right last season in Lakers nation. An elite starting five that had many experts expecting a championship off the bat, but it wasn’t the lack of individual play that made the Lakers non-contenders, it was their chemistry that was out in left field.
Antawn Jamison spent last season with the Lakers, the majority of that time on the bench. But the 15-year NBA veteran saw greater opportunity elsewhere this summer, signing a one-year deal worth $1.4 million on Wednesday with the Clippers.
Jamison appeared on ESPN 710 in Los Angeles and was very open to commenting on his former team.
The veteran opened up about his view of Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard’s relationship.
“I really believed before we got started that those two could co-exist. But it just didn’t work out that way. Both guys are unbelievable basketball players, the best we have in the game right now. But for whatever reason we just couldn’t get that relationship as far as them communicating and them trusting each other the way you needed them to trust each other in order for us to win a championship. It just didn’t happen that way.”
Jamison also commented on the coaching situation in LA, which many felt was out of hand. After Mike Brown was fired early last season, the team was in a panic to find a new coach. With fans clamoring for a return by Phil Jackson, the Lakers went with Mike D’Antoni.
“I don’t dislike Mike. I obviously respect him as a coach. In my eyes, one of the best offensive-minded coaches in the league. I just think he was put in a tough situation … but toward the end of the season you saw him kind of open up, and we started to have a relationship, and I kind of understood where he was coming from.”
Kobe and Dwight have finally gone their separate ways, with Howard signing with the Houston Rockets in free agency. In hindsight, no team would have attempted to bring in Howard to play with another star, but then again, he’s with James Harden now.
Onto other news from around the league:
- J.R. Smith, who always keeps the dog days of the NBA interesting, may have sparked a feud between the Knicks and Nets after he retaliated to comments made by Paul Pierce earlier this month. Pierce said he believed the Nets would eventually own New York. Smith didn’t take lightly to those comments and fired back during an interview with Ian Begley of ESPN New York. Smith began to rant about Pierce and the Nets, saying, “I just look at him as a bitter person just getting out of Boston. He doesn’t really know what New York is all about. He’s been playing in Boston his whole career. He just knows, just know that his words have consequences and he’s going to have to pay for them.”
- Yahoo! Sports reported that Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge was displeased with Portland’s 2012-13 season but not to the point where he felt a trade was necessary. Over the summer, Aldridge was involved in a series of trade rumors, all stemming from his interest to leave Portland. It was reported that Aldridge’s representatives met with Blazers general manager Neil Olshey in Las Vegas to discuss trade possibilities but nothing materialized. But it was earlier this summer when the trade rumors all began. Jason Quick of The Oregonian reported that Aldridge “wants out” of Portland and believes the city is “too small” and “boring.” Does that means he will stay in Portland? Perhaps the better question may be, is Damian Lillard and the hopes of being a playoff team enough to keep him there?
- The Philadelphia 76ers have hired Chad Iske as an assistant coach, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Iske will join Lloyd Pierce on new coach Brett Brown’s staff. He has been part of the Denver Nuggets’ organization for the last 13 years when he started as an intern with the club in 1999. He was promoted in 2008 to assistant coach under George Karl. Iske is well known for his strength and conditioning and player development techniques. Although he’s never played competitively, Iske has also gained experience coaching high school basketball.