ESPN’s Chris Broussard reported on Thursday that according to sources, Howard—who becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer—will likely leave Los Angeles. The main reason he would reportedly prefer to play in Texas: D’Antoni.
Broussard’s report added that sources believe Howard doesn’t want to play Robin to Kobe Bryant’s Batman for several more years, either. However, if the center could stomach a reduced role in an offense run by someone not named Mike D’Antoni, Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak should appease Howard. Broussard made sure to note the seven-time All-Star’s habit of changing his mind.
In 2009, Howard carried an Orlando Magic team with a starting five that included Hedo Turkoglu, Rashard Lewis, Rafer Alston and Courtney Lee to the NBA Finals.
Turkoglu averaged 5.5 points per game the next year on the Toronto Raptors.
Lewis’ shooting percentage from downtown plummeted from 39.7 percent that season to 34.7 in his first year after the Magic traded him.
Alston’s points per game dropped from 12.0 in 2009 to 6.6 in 2010 on Miami while playing only 3.3 less minutes per game.
Lee never developed into the star he looked capable of blossoming into as a rookie. He never averaged 12.5 points per game over the course of a single campaign.
D’Antoni never once led a team to the championship, despite coaching the league MVP—Steve Nash—twice. He coached Amar’e Stoudemire, Shawn Marion and Joe Johnson alongside Nash in 2005. Nash, Stoudemire and Marion were All-Stars that year.
D’Antoni has coached stars and never made it to the NBA Finals. Howard made it to the NBA Finals with inferior talent compared to the Lakers’ roster right now.
Los Angeles fired Mike Brown after only one full season and he led the Lakers to a Pacific Division title and the Western Conference semifinals, two feats D’Antoni failed to accomplish. If the Lakers' odds to re-sign Howard would significantly increase if they show D’Antoni the door, their decision is a no-brainer.
They must fire D’Antoni.
David Daniels is a breaking news writer at Bleacher Report and news editor at Wade-O Radio.