NBA exec says Dwight Howard let NBA Finals ‘go to his head’ during 1st stint in LA
Dwight Howard and Anthony Davis have found themselves on the same Los Angeles Lakers roster under two different, but still awfully similar circumstances. It was seven years ago that Howard first got traded to Los Angeles after reeling back and forth with the Orlando Magic to find a way out, much like Davis did during this past season after forcing a trade to the Lakers.
Yet Howard got a bad end of the stick, as a league executive suggested to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report — with him still holding ambitions of grandeur at the wake of making the NBA Finals in 2009.
“I think where [Davis] might be getting a pass, when Dwight came over, the situation was this was Kobe’s team,” the executive said. “Whereas Dwight was like, ‘I’m doing it my way because I went to the NBA Finals … I got [former Orlando head coach Stan Van Gundy] fired.’ People are going to listen to me. He let it go to his head.”
Howard was trying to phase out an alpha male that was not quite ready to call it quits, still considered the franchise player and the unrivaled leader of the team.
Davis is joining another star player in Los Angeles, but he’s not imposing his will or trying to replace him, rather hoping to work in a partnership role.
“LeBron has the same expectations [as Bryant], but he’s not that type of leader. Anthony is not an alpha; Dwight thought he was an alpha,” the executive said. “Dwight thought he was right. You can’t tell him anything. Whereas Anthony is a lot more open to criticism from guys who have done it.”
Howard’s well-storied murky relationship with Bryant was a total fiasco, resulting in his departure after only one season, something Davis could do at the end of 2019-20. However this new stint in the City of Angels could be a redemption one for Howard, who’s already been humbled enough after playing for four different teams in the last four seasons.