Ric Bucher has given us another tidbit from his interesting time with the Buss family earlier this month.
According to Bucher, Dwight Howard wanted the Lakers to amnesty Kobe Bryant and fire Mike D’Antoni if he was going to re-sign with the club, and Jim Buss even confirmed the notion that D12 didn’t want to play with the Lakers legend:
Talks with various people close to the situation make it clear there were two prerequisites for Dwight Howard to remain a Laker: fire Mike D’Antoni and amnesty, or at the very least muzzle, Kobe Bryant.
The Lakers apparently asked Dwight to be patient on both fronts for at least another season, telling him “hey, you’re going to have to gut this out another year,” a source said, although it sounds as if VP of basketball ops Jim Buss isn’t ready to abandon Kobe anytime soon. “Dwight didn’t want to play with Kobe for 2-3 more years,” Buss said. “I’m going to stand behind Kobe because of his history with the franchise.”
This is really nothing that we didn’t already know. After Dwight made his decision, it was reported that Howard wanted Kobe to be amnestied and D’Antoni to be fired in order for him to re-sign.
However, the difference in this report is the quote directly from Jim Buss; he’s officially put it out there that Dwight didn’t want to hang around for a few more years and wait for Kobe to retire. Interestingly, just as free agency was getting started, Bryant told the Lakers’ official website that he could see himself playing for another three more years. At the time, a lot of people wondered whether this statement from Bryant could deter Howard from re-signing; it seems it did.
Buss was completely right to stand by the Black Mamba, though: what he’s done for this franchise has been phenomenal, and to turn your back on him at this point would not only upset the Lakers’ loyal fan base, but it’d simply be downright stupid to amnesty Kobe in order to retain the services of Howard, or any player for that matter.