A Divorce for Dwight and the Lakers?
by Zach Gilliland
As the Lakers look forward to next year there are many question marks about the roster. Dwight Howard could test the free agency market, Nash and Kobe have uncertain timetables for returns, and Metta World Peace could opt out of his contract as well.
One thing the Lakers do know for sure though is that any chance at a title will not be happening this year after they suffered a gruesome four-game sweep by the San Antonio Spurs.
Many critics have placed a lot of the final loss on Dwight Howard, who was ejected for two technical fouls and missed the majority of the second half Sunday. That game was a perfect example of the struggles the Lakers have endured all season long with Howard.
The superstar was supposed to be the final piece of the puzzle to a LA Dream Team set to run the table in the Western Conference, but this was not the case at all. Dwight caused about as much drama in LA as he did in Orlando and night in and night out it seemed like he was stirring up something new.
The Dwight-Lakers marriage just didn't work very well this year because Dwight expected more shots per game than he is going to get when Kobe Bryant is on the floor. It seemed as though there was tension at times between Kobe and Dwight over the number of shots Kobe was taking. I got news for you Dwight: Kobe has done that his entire career and he is
one of the greatest players the game has seen. Kobe should be able to take as many shots as he pleases because quite frankly he is still a top 5 scorer in the league.
Howard never seemed comfortable in his role with the Lakers, but when Kobe went down with the Achilles injury, it appeared that Howard played a lot more comfortably. If they can find a way to play at a high level together, the Lakers could be dangerous next year.
That is, if Dwight returns to LA next season. Some believe Dwight will test the market and see what else is out there and that may be the best thing for him. Getting out of LA will take some of the pressure and spotlight off of him. If he were to return to the Lakers though, and depending on how fast Kobe and Steve Nash recover, the Lakers could potentially be title contenders next year. Kobe knows that next year might be his last chance at another ring, and I expect him to become a more vocal leader in the locker room and patch up the rocky relationship with Dwight.
After a long offseason the Lakers should be able to gain some chemistry, and if Howard returns this will give him a chance to find a comfortable role on the court. No one knows what is in store for the All-Star center, but only time will tell if he and the Lakers can salvage their relationship and give it their best shot next year.