Posted July 06, 2013

Lakers ‘disappointed’ over Dwight Howard’s decision to sign with Rockets

Ben Golliver, Dwight Howard, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, Mitch Kupchak

Mitch Kupchak (right) was unable to keep Dwight Howard with the Lakers.

Mitch Kupchak (right) was unable to keep Dwight Howard with the Lakers. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images Sport)

Just 329 days after he stood side-by-side with Dwight Howard at an introductory press conference, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak issued a statement Friday confirming that Howard would be leaving Los Angeles to sign with the Rockets.

“We have been informed of Dwight’s decision to not return to the Lakers,” Kupchak said in a statement. “Naturally we’re disappointed.”

Howard, 27, averaged 17.1 points, 12.4 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in his only season with the Lakers after being acquired from the Magic in a 2012 trade. He earned selection to the All-Star team and the All-NBA Third Team.

The Lakers, who were eliminated in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs, are now left with no choice but to regroup without their starting center. L.A. currently has no other true centers on the roster, although Pau Gasol has often seen time at the position. All-Star guard Kobe Bryant is rehabilitating from a season-ending Achilles injury, clouding the Lakers’ picture.

“We will now move forward in a different direction with the future of the franchise and, as always, will do our best to build the best team possible, one our great Lakers fans will be proud to support,” Kupchak said. “To Dwight, we thank him for his time and consideration, and for his efforts with us last season. We wish him the best of luck on the remainder of his NBA career.”

L.A. is set up to have significant cap space next summer when the current contracts for Bryant, Gasol and other key players expire.

The Lakers tried hard to retain Howard, putting up billboards around Los Angeles encouraging him to stay and meeting with him earlier this week. Howard instead opted for the Rockets after also considering the Mavericks, Warriors and Hawks.

Howard can’t officially sign until the free-agent moratorium ends Wednesday.

36 comments
jaskaz
jaskaz

No disappointment.  Lakers are too great a franchise to worry about a big clown baby with no heart leaving.  Good riddance.  We need the next Laker franchise player to be a lion with courage and heart - like the Mamba and other previous Laker greats.  I was so happy when Dwight became a Laker, but after experiencing the childlike demeanor, actually happy to see him go.  This leaves the Lakers poised to go after the team's next great star of the future.Summer of '14 baby.  NBA watch out!

quickster
quickster

The only thing that Jim will be scare off will be for Time Warner Cable to withdraw the 3 billions dollars offer that they made to the Lakers. Time Warner demands that Jim Buss be replaced by Jeanie Buss.  I hope it happens.  They need to get rid of Jim and Mike Dantoni. I think Jim is changing why? when Kurt  Rambis became part of Dantoni staff the only thing they need to do is to make Phil part of the front office and kick Dantoni to the curb.


TylerAllen
TylerAllen

The Lakers will NEVER be great again as long as jim buss is running the show!

Kobe very bluntly told the org "I want it to be phil Jackson" (jim chose brown)

Howard said very bluntly before game #1 " I want Phil Jackson" (jim chose  no'd)

The Lakers fans chanted "we want phil" (jim does not care"

So Enjoy it lakers! Enjoy watching everything the great late jerry buss built be torn down like legos by his idiot offspring!


6marK6
6marK6

Howard never gave any indication that he was interested in staying with the Lakers, never. You have to ask the question, why, when everything was going so poorly last year, why didn't you trade him and get something in return. Take a look at that roster and tell me they will make noise in the next few years. I don't care if you think Howard sucks or not, you could have got something for him.

kelley.t.m
kelley.t.m

I wish him all the best in Houston. The Lakers, as LA Times columnist Bill Plaschke so accurately  notes in today's edition, dodged a very big bullet. The Lakers are the winners in this one. They'll have a TON O'BUCKS for 2014. Good luck, Dwight. You're a nice guy. Really. But for what you do, that may be a problem...

Lakerfansince1979
Lakerfansince1979

Kobe's recent comments on playing another 3-4 years was untimely. Kobe is always thinking of Kobe first. Kobe is only the top three scorer in the NBA because he monopolizes the basketball. Fans, the Lakers need to blow this roster and rebuild for the future. Remember, the Lakers have been 1st round playoff casualties for the last three seasons, far from championship caliber. Year after year you hear the Lakers need to get younger and more athletic, yet their roster does not change. Kobe, be a class act and retire with dignity before the young players embarrass you on the defensive end. Kobe will probably average 24plus points per game. At 30.5 million dollar salary ( 50% of teams salary) lakers will be in the bottom half of the overall standings.

ITATTRACTS
ITATTRACTS

Good riddance. The guy is a baby and a cancer. The minute things go rough his leadership skills go right out the window. My 3 year old handles adversity better. Let him go, LA fans should be happy. 

Citizen
Citizen

If Kupchak didn't see this coming, he does not deserve to remain as GM. Dwight never really acted like he wanted to be here right from the onset.

cjsamms
cjsamms

They run a lot of pick and rolls in Houston. So the problem wasn't D'Antoni's system. It wasn't he pressure either. That's just the low-hanging fruit. Because nobody wants to face reality. 

In the year he had with the Lakers, they had a chance to show him why he should stay. But he never got the love LeBron got from the Heat and DWade. And going forward, Kobe basically told him he could expect more of the same for the next 3-4 years. If that's the case, then Dwight might as well sign with Houston and check back with the Lakers in 3-4 years.

Vu
Vu

wow.  DHow looks small next to Kupchak...

WaltF
WaltF

Insisting on retaining a coach who's never been to the finals, even though you know it increases the risk of losing the player who's the future of your franchise, is not doing your best to build the best team possible, Mr. Kupchak.  


Lakers fans: BOYCOTT.  Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak couldn't have shown you more contempt in the past year if they cursed you at the ticket booth as they took your money.  BOYCOTT.

leehwgoc
leehwgoc

It's a new era for the Lakers.

One in which they AREN'T a destination-team.  Better get used to it, Lakers fans.

willstar194
willstar194

Don't be too upset Kupchak, this may be a blessing in disguise 

doublejtrain68
doublejtrain68

I wouldn't be too disappointed. He didn't fit the system anyway, and he wasn't exactly interested in returning, so good riddance. 

Azeron
Azeron

The Lakers paid lip service to the idea that they wanted to retain Howard.  It was clear that Howard did not fit D'Antoni's system  The organization chose to back D'Antoni thereby shunning Howard.  That's just the way it is.

TylerAllen
TylerAllen

They should put a sign in front of staples center with a picture of Jim Buss with the words "LEAVE"

6marK6
6marK6

@kelley.t.m The Mavs have been playing that save your money for free agents game for the last two years. Has done wonders for their team.

Raid'Kers
Raid'Kers

@Lakerfansince1979 You're an idiot. Know some facts before you post your rant.... The LAKERS hadn't been eliminated in the first round since 2007. Mr. Knownothin

TylerAllen
TylerAllen

@Lakerfansince1979 

Negative! While the 3-4 year comment was an issue! Jim Buss doing things that were clearly not best for the lakers because of EGO!

Sure idoit lakers fans will blame kobe/howard/nash/d'antoni/ ect.

The few smart ones will see jim buss for being the poison he is!


ITATTRACTS
ITATTRACTS

@Citizen you must have missed the press conference when he was tearing up and saying it was always his dream to play for the Lakers. the minute the road got a little rough is when his attitude changed. the guy is a cancer to any team he plays on, no GM will prevent that. 

Citizen
Citizen

@cjsamms You can't be any farther from the truth. It looks like he already made up his mind before he even met with Kobe and the Lakers. It's the only reason he chose to meet with the Lakers last. It he did ask for Phil and the Lakers hired D'Antoni, he obviously would have a problem with that.

ThisMusicSux
ThisMusicSux

@Vu DH has a small pinhead... that's the problem.  ha

cjsamms
cjsamms

@Vu Kupchak's was 6-11 back in his playing days.

RobertM
RobertM

@WaltF Agree 100&. Management failure...that includes letting Kobe run amouk.

Azeron
Azeron

@willstar194 LaLa land, the land of spin.  Sour grapes brother.  Had Howard re-signed you guys would be patting yourselves on the back.  He walks and it's "a blessing in disguise."  Come on, man!  

JulesG
JulesG

@Azeron Whose to say that D'antoni couldn't adjust, as well as all of th other Lakers on the team for something that made sense for the team? Not just the newly acquired center who refused to adjust to anything other than what HE wanted? Sounds like unless you were willing to let Dwight dictate how the whole team is run, you were going to lose him.

Lebron'S Headband
Lebron'S Headband

@ITATTRACTS @Citizen well, since nobody knows who runs that team, jim or jeanie.......i'm siding with citizen. don't be a butt hurt laker supporter now itattracts

tigersports
tigersports

@ITATTRACTS @Citizen True, but I still think that Mitch and Jim are an awful team. Any group that thinks Mike D'Antoni, who hasn't won ANYTHING btw, is a better option for coach than Phil Jackson should be removed from their jobs. This whole thing was destroyed the moment Mike became our coach. Have the Rockets become the heat of the west for me? Yes, but that doesn't change the fact that I'm counting down the days until Mike is fired and we can start to rebuild with a REAL coach. Mitch and Jim are idiots.

cjsamms
cjsamms

@Citizen  Actually, I think he wanted to be the man. Kobe made it clear when he was traded, and again when they were trying to re-sign him that he wasn't ever going to be the man while Kobe was there. Kobe had his own moment when Shaq wasn't ready to step aside for him way back when. And he still doesn't understand.

The only way hiring Phil would have helped is if he could control Kobe. That never happened during Phil's time there. Kobe will be Kobe no matter who the coach is. And that's the problem. And why they're not going to sign any alpha dogs in 2014 either.

Azeron
Azeron

@JulesG @Azeron Exactly.  The Lakers knew D'Antoni wasn't going to change his system.  He quit the Knicks rather than change.  He wanted to TRADE Carmello Anthony.  Does anyone have any idea how D'Antoni's system works?  It is predicated upon taking open jump shots.  Does Howard look like a jump shooter to you?  Howard wanted Phil Jackson.  Jim Buss didn't.  The Lakers let Howard walk for NOTHING and they and their fans are crowing about that.  Unbelievable.  The only saving grace is that the Sixers got a big goose egg out of Andrew Bynum, but in the end the Lakers lose a valuable asset and get nothing back in return.


tigersports
tigersports

@cjsamms @Citizen but he WON'T be the man. Harden is the man. Everyone knows that the best player on that team is Harden. If they win a title, guess who wins the MVP? 


Honestly, any real superstar would have done what Lebron did. Lebron went into Miami and didn't question that it was Wade's team, but his play was so good that even Wade had to concede the reigns to him. That was two superstars in their prime. If Howard couldn't command the respect of the Lakers against someone past his prime, even if he is one of the greatest ever, that's on him. Kobe even went down and Howard was still useless as a leader. He had a chance to show what the future without Kobe and with Howard would be like and let me tell you, it was pretty morbid. Better to start over in 2014.

RobertM
RobertM

@cjsamms @Citizen You nailed it on the head. Agree 100%. LA had a year of him actually being there to show him the benefits of LA. If I'm selling anything you give me an opportunity to let my prospect sample for a year...if he does not choose you then it is your fault. He has already chosen you once. Kobe is and was the problem with Shaq, Bynum, Gasol (initially), and now Howard. When do people face facts and realize that this dude is no fun to play with and not the only one you can win a championship with in this league. The Heat have no personality or attitude issues. The Spurs have no such issues. The Bulls don't and the Thunder do not. Nor do the Pacers seem to have any such problems.