Yea, that was never going to happen.
According to a report via Ric Bucher of ESPN, Dwight Howard, had a few bold demands if he were to entertain a return to the Los Angeles Lakers. Ultimately, those demands fell on deaf ears and now Howard is a Houston Rocket.
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. As audacious as that might sound, it doesn’t come without precedent in Lakers’ history. When Kobe re-upped in 2004, it coincided with Shaq being shipped to Miami and Phil Jackson being let go.
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.” It would seem, then, with all that happened, the Lakers had the wherewithal to keep Howard if they had desired; they simply found the price too high.
That’s a tough position to be put in if you’re the Lakers. Whether or not they made the right decision will be answered in the coming years, when we get to see if Dwight is still a dominant force.
And even if that’s the case, I don’t know how fans would’ve reacted to the amnestying of Kobe; he’s dependable and a proven winner, while Howard is almost the complete opposite.