After much talk and speculation about the Lakers trading Dwight Howard to the Brooklyn Nets before the NBA trade deadline, it never materialized, and it appears the disgruntled center will finish the year in the Purple & Gold.
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Howard, you may recall, spent the majority of last season trying to get traded to the Nets. He also worked hard to (successfully) get Orlando Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy fired toward the end of the season. If you have never seen the infamous video of Van Gundy discussing how a member of management told him that Howard demanded his firing, then Howard walking up seconds later trying to joke with Van Gundy for the cameras, ignorant of the conversation, you should check it out. It has to be the most awkward moment between a player and coach on celluloid.
The Nets were smart to dodge Howard in both instances. He's certainly still a force on the court when healthy, but honestly, who wants that type of headache in the locker room? Howard has already complained numerous times this year about not getting the ball enough, saying Kobe Bryant is shooting too much.
Hmmm...let's see now. Kobe is universally recognized as one of the best offensive players in history, with the ability to create (and make) shots from anywhere on the court. You, Mr. Howard, have always been considered more of a rebounding and defensive specialist, prolific in blocking shots.
A solid scorer, averaging 18+ points per game for your career, but at your size, shouldn't that number be higher? Oh wait, maybe it would be if you could shoot better than 59% from the free-throw line for your career. A simple 80% would probably have you averaging somewhere around Kobe's 25 per game.
Your argument might carry a little more weight then, Dwight.
Howard's first several seasons were unprecedented. He did things that no other player, especially straight out of high school, had ever done. He was the youngest guy to ever average a double-double in the regular season, the youngest to average 10+ rebounds per game in the regular season, and the youngest to record 20+ rebounds in a game. He was also the first rookie straight out of high school to start all 82 games in a season.
His on-court talent has never been the problem. But somewhere during the 2010-11 season, things started going downhill for Howard in the attitude department. He led the NBA in technical fouls that year with 18, drawing two separate one-game suspensions along the way.
Then last season, the trade demands started early in the year, proceeded to his demands of Van Gundy being removed, and culminated with the continued whining until the Lakers were gullible enough to trade for him. I fully expected at any time for him to start stomping his feet and holding his breath until he got his way.
Oh then big surprise, a few months ago, Howard began feuding with Bryant. Seriously, if ego were brains, you couldn't fit this guy's head inside the Great Western Forum.
To the Lakers, I simply say that when you trade for a guy with a history of demanding what he wants and crying until he gets his way, you get what you deserve. To the Nets I say, give GM Billy King a raise for deciding to stay away from this dude.