Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/17/14

In the ultimatum of Dwight Howard vs. Kobe Bryant, the Lakers chose Bryant, and Howard chose the Rockets. That’s the latest scuttlebutt from the post-Howard free agency period, according to Ramona Shelburne and Marc Stein of ESPN. Shelburne and Stein report that, while other factors were certainly in play as Howard picked the next step in his NBA career, the overriding factor in turning down the Lakers was that Bryant was sticking around, which wasn’t going to work for Howard. Bryant had originally said that his current deal, which runs through the end of next season, would likely be his last, as he would probably retire after it was complete. That dovetailed well with Howard’s ambitions to be the main man in L.A., and the Lakers also promised Howard that he would be the focal point of the team in the future. But this offseason, as the time came for Howard and the Lakers to see whether a long-term contract was in store, the Lakers’ commitment to Bryant is what ended up spooking Howard away for good, ESPN reports.  Bryant is coming back from what would be a career-ending Achilles injury for some, but he hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down — in fact, he now says he’s interested in playing a few more years. With Howard faced with the prospect of the Lakers not officially being his team anytime soon, he and his camp put pressure on the Lakers to choose who they wanted in the long run. Los Angeles picked the incumbent. “Sources told ESPN.com that Howard and his representatives — in a handful of meetings with Lakers officials before he became a free agent July 1 — strongly suggested the center would have a difficult time re-signing with the team if Bryant stayed with the franchise beyond the 2013-2014 season, the final year of his contract,” ESPN reports. “… ‘How can it be Kobe’s team and Dwight’s team?’ one source said. ‘It was about the passing of the torch.’” Howard and Co. even went as far as to suggest that the Lakers cut Bryant with the league’s amnesty provision. That was part of some scheming they were doing to figure out how the team could get cap space so the Lakers could go after other players, such as free agent Chris Paul. “But the Lakers, sources said, made it clear the prospect of releasing Bryant or simply trying to lay out a finite timetable on the end of his career with the franchise was not under consideration, believing those decisions should and would be made by Bryant,” ESPN reports. Howard, sensing that Bryant would have the final say about if and when he would go, decided to join the Rockets instead. Coupled with Howard’s concerns about Mike D’Antoni‘s coaching style and the turbulence that marked Howard’s time with the Lakers, which included back-and-forths with Bryant and accusations that Howard wasn’t cut out to be a Lakers great, the Rockets and the personnel and coach they offered were an easy decision, according to ESPN.

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Three quarterbacks who could be traded this offseason

Wolves trade Corey Brewer to the Rockets

Yankees trade Prado to Marlins for Eovaldi in 5-player deal

Brandon Browner fined $8K for throwing Brandon Gibson to turf

Report: Sharper, NFLers called spiked drinks 'horny juice'

Rex Ryan: My wife could coach Tom Brady

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Jim Harbaugh won in laser tag by 'hunting' 10-year-old kid

Eddie Lacy is ‘very blind,’ refuses to wear goggles

Michael Phelps pleads guilty to DUI, gets probation

NFL scouts not in love with Amari Cooper?

Report: No teams interested in trading for Lance Stephenson

It is not Chip Kelly's fault if Eagles miss playoffs

Video: Swaggy P elbows Steven Adams in throat, gets ejected

Video: Grizzlies buy car for assistant who had his stolen

Video: LeBron takes pass to the face from Dion Waiters

New video of Ray Rice incident emerges

President Obama calls James Franco “James Flacco”

NBA games of the weekend: Rondo's Dallas debut, Bulls-Grizz

Tuscaloosa students will have two days off if Bama plays in National Championship

Brady scares the **** out of his teammates celebrating

Longhorn Network’s yule log? Five hours of BEVO

Will a Chiefs WR finally catch a TD in Week 16?

Jon Lester and the Cubs

The Toronto Raptors reveal their new logo

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Three quarterbacks who could be traded this offseason

Jon Lester and the Cubs

Report: NFL players used 'horny juice'

Top 10 worst NBA related commercials of all-time

Phelps gets probation for DUI

NFL coaches on hot seat in Week 16

The Roy Williams-Terrell Owens horse collar turns 10

Most underpaid NFL players in 2014

Gronk jokes about Brady compliment

In Matt Kemp, did the Dodgers find a pigeon in Padres?

Why the Saints are legit playoff threat

Impact of U.S.-Cuba relations on MLB

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.