There’s an entire city that knows just what to expect, used to the futility and long suffering, used to the phoniness and broken promises. Dwight Howard is unhappy with the team and his teammates, and he could care less about the Los Angeles Lakers, pouting about the number of touches and finding convenient excuses to sit out a game as he supposedly nurses an injury.
Not much makes me frown, but Howard makes me cringe and it’s nauseating to watch him nightly as people describe him as the most dominant center of our generation, when clearly he has not lived up to the expectations and has not challenged himself to emerge into an NBA superstar and hero forevermore.
By now, it’s clear, assuming from his lethargy and torpidity, that he’s unfit to wear a Lakers uniform, not the man for the team, not the Lakers’ future and certainly not the unquestioned leader once Kobe Bryant walks from the game.
Bryant is unparalleled, never to be replicated in LA, a scorer and marksman whose accomplishments will forever leave behind an enduring legacy in an era when he scored 81 points in a single game, and in an age when he’s been a clutch performer.
In addition, Bryant has drilled an array of buzzer beaters and led the Lakers to two NBA titles without the services of his longtime sidekick, Shaquille O’Neal.
The fact of the matter is, ladies and gentleman — to put it simply — we won’t ever witness another Kobe Bryant. Much as the Buss family hopes to see Howard evolve into the next star on the red carpet, Howard is realistically not too pleased when he’s on the floor, he’s not satisfied and seemingly wants to play elsewhere — maybe in Brooklyn, Atlanta, Dallas or even Oklahoma City but surely not here in LA.
So why even try to hold on to the self-proclaimed Superman who is not even the Man of Steel? It’s time the Lakers listen to trade offers and move the disappointing center, especially for someone who has not done much for the team since his arrival, and for someone who spent ample time on the sideline with an injury.
At age 27, he has no clue where he wants to play, he’s confused and is wishy-washy, unable to make up his damn mind. One minute he’s happy to be a Laker, the next he’s miserable and depressed.
He very easily could be a bust who has compelled us to buy into the unnecessary hype here in Los Angeles with everybody still mesmerized by his sensational dunk in the NBA slam dunk contest, which technically wasn’t a dunk, all while donning a Superman T-shirt and cape.
It’s been a disappointing season, dare I say it, for Howard and the Lakers as a unit, searching for answers as to why the team is struggling, and unexpectedly, L.A. might miss the playoffs as the regular season is months away from drawing to a close.
But for some reason, probably because he reigns dominant and was supposed to be the Lakers next big man to follow the footsteps of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and O’Neal, he’s not putting in effort — healthy or unhealthy — and stands underneath the basket without grabbing a rebound and without slamming it down over smaller opponents.
In other words, he’s not the player as advertised and fans no longer care if he walks or not at the end of the season. Seems Lakers supporters are encouraging the Buss family to trade the three-time defensive player of the year.
What a complete lazy slob, huh? He’s not a supplementary player. He’s a cancer to the team, an absolute toxic waste, polluting the Pacific waters and rashly upsetting a large population in Lakerland, a place where he’s doubted and suddenly disliked by the vast majority. In retrospect, Howard is an enigma and his flakiness may have ended his run with the Lakers.
But some believe he will remain with the team at least until the end of the season, probably because Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said he will not trade Howard. Forgive me if I’m too harsh on Howard — but I feel he won’t ever be a dominant center in the league.
When he came to L.A., everybody thought he was finally glad and grateful for a change of scenery. Turns out, he’s still the whiny brat we once knew in Orlando, the same crybaby who annoyed basketball lovers — including the Orlando Magic front office.
But all it shows is that nobody can ever run from their problems and can only take their issues wherever they go — different state or city — none of that matters. It also shows that he’s not mature, not a strong leader and still has dire need for improvement in his free throws and mental toughness under the basket. Until then, he won’t ever be a star in the NBA.
Jim Buss, co-owner of the Lakers, gambled and might have regretted bringing him on board to gel with Bryant and the gang. Howard was misleading and wanted to contend for a title and accepted a trade from Orlando to Los Angeles, a place where he initially had no intention of playing the first day he arrived.
Not once has he sworn to wear purple and gold next season — and never said he’d like to be a Laker for life. Now, he’s becoming NBA’s annoying diva, who is an absolute turnoff if nothing else at this very moment, drawing so much attention for his injuries and endless feuds with Bryant allegedly.
Word on the street is that he and Bryant almost came to blows in the locker room with tensions boiling over to add to the mess that has had an affect on the team’s poor performances all season. He’s not totally committed to L.A., and without a doubt, there’s not a mutual marriage between Howard and the Lakers, just not.
It’s not an ideal Hollywood makeover, and just from his body language and bad decorum, he won’t be in L.A. much longer. There’s a feeling that both the Lakers and Howard will cut ties and go their separate ways. That’s what every Lakers fan should hope for real soon, and every fan across the Southland should be imploring for the team to trade Howard.
In L.A., he’s unwanted, he’s unwelcome and seems to not care whether the Lakers win or lose, looking for every excuse to leave after this season before he can even say goodbye next summer, which is quickly nearing. The Lakers, as they’ve done precisely in the past, traded players but unwisely dealt those who were valuable and contributed in some way.
So now would be the time, as NBA’s trade deadline is coming to a close, to phone Nets general manager Billy King for sole possession of the big man. The resident of Los Angeles wishes he was a resident of Brooklyn — to be quite honest.
Truth be told, after sharing the ball with Bryant and having to be the team’s second-option, he’s erratic and moody. When you think about it, Bryant attempts way too many shots sometimes, unwilling to trust in his teammates and believes he has no choice but to ball hog in order for the Lakers to win a ballgame.
It’s too often that his selfishness thwarts the Lakers. It’s too often that Howard is petulant and overwrought because of Bryant’s ego and lack of generosity at times.
But either way, that is, it’s now time to trade Howard. Make that quick and fast. Make that right now. Even after Kupchak said he has no intention of trading his overrated superstar, once it became apparent that Howard has not given it his all, the Lakers can trade him to the Nets in exchange for Brook Lopez and multiple pieces.
They could also send him to Atlanta, his native home, for Josh Smith and additional players. In many ways — mind you — it would appease both players when Smith desperately wants out of Atlanta and when it seems Howard wants out of L.A.
Sure he’s telling us he’s happy with Bryant. Sure he’s brainwashing us with the notion that he’s committed to a storied franchise. Sure he says he will sign long term when questions are still lingering about his future as a Laker.
But, as we’ve seen in the past, NBA players or any professional athlete for that matter lies, and then when free agency suddenly comes around they leave for another team that was willing to give them what they asked for. He’s got a lot to learn about the game, about getting along with his teammates and peers.
With this team, as there is just so much star power and talent, it seems like he and Pau Gasol cannot play together. It could precisely be because of Mike D’Antoni, whose peculiar, up-tempo offense is detriment to his players.
It’s definitely hard to tell whether or not Bryant’s and Howard’s relationship is getting better, although they seem to be working out their problems and getting over a recent fallout. But Howard still is a shadow of his teammate Bryant, as he recovers from his surgically repaired back and says he’s only 75 percent.
On top of that, he’s plagued by a shoulder injury as well, and missed a few games with pain in the shoulder but finally returned and managed to play through it. Some are fine with Howard averaging 16.2 points and 11.7 rebounds, while others aren’t pleased with his lack of intensity that has overshadowed his decent numbers.
Meanwhile, Howard has the leverage and dictates what he does, as far as on the court and off the court. The Lakers do not have the upper hand and won’t have it until they decide enough is enough and trade the big man to end the fuss and unnecessary drama that have killed the Lakers reassuring season.
He knows the ball is in his court and has been unhappy with the number of touches, begging for the ball in his spot under the basket where he can be dominant when he wants. For now, he’s demanding what he wants and controls his own terms.
He’s more powerful than the Lakers.
It’s a Dwightmare in Hollywood, and the way to end it is by getting rid of the drama queen.