The Los Angeles Lakers season has been a disappointment so far and that's putting it mildly. With a foot injury to Pau Gasol and an underperforming "super team" with a record of 23-27, the Lakers have had their struggles and can't catch a break. For Kobe Bryant, it's still too early not to go out and try to compete a championship. He believes that with an underperforming team and he believes that with injury. He expects everyone to go out if they can play while hurt, but it's apparent Dwight Howard didn't get that memo. When interviewed a day before they met the Celtics on Thursday night, Howard was asked if he informed Kobe about his injury and things got heated, as reported by Dave McMenamin.
Dwight Howard: "What situation?"
Reporter: In terms of your injury and all that?
DH: "Have I talked to Kobe?"
Reporter: Yes, just as far as outlining, like, telling him your perspective?
After that, there was tension brewing as Howard felt he didn't need to give Bryant a full explanation on why he may not be able to play. The interview ended with Howard showing his opinion on Kobe's comments.
Reporter No. 2: He says we don’t have time for Dwight’s shoulder to heal. We need urgency. We need him back on the floor. This is the Lakers. It’s either a championship or a complete failure.
Reporter No. 2: What do you say to that?
DH: "That’s his opinion."
The next day the Lakers were embarrassed by the Celtics 116-95 in Boston. This tension seems to be between two of the biggest personalities on the team and also in the league. Kobe knows the pressure is on him to lead the Lakers to a title while Howard wants to do the same but also realizes he's going to be a free agent this summer and his stock could drop considerably if he risks further injury.
This type of tension may have the Lakers rethinking they have a good chance to keep Howard long term also. The Lakers have little depth and with their two top stars battling in front of the cameras, it may be easier to try to get something for Howard in a trade over losing him for nothing in the offseason. It may be the tipping point with these two, but there's also been some dissatisfaction with Pau Gasol and the coaching of Mike D'Antoni. The top stars don't seem to think they don't get enough touches and may look to go elsewhere for another run. This disastrous experiment could signify the end of the Lakers current run of relevance in the Western Conference, Bryant is due around $30 million next season and the team is slated to hit the luxury tax again if World Peace keeps his option for the final year, which isn't good news for a team that can't play together and, at the same time, wants to keep the core anyway.
There's too many personalities on the Lakers for this team to win a championship. They all have different styles and tend to play a certain way that benefits themselves as individuals over the team. Maybe they need to watch some San Antonio Spurs film and see how a team with so much depth can still keep all the pieces in place without disruption. Unless the Lakers can figure out their problems this season,i it seems Kobe vs. Dwight may put the Lakers into NBA purgatory for a while.