Howard torn between Lakers and Rockets
by Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports
Up is down and down is up these days in Los Angeles, where it’s the legendary Lakers who are a hot mess and the Clippers who are no longer confounding.
The Lakers have a Dwight Howard crisis on their hands and are facing a summer that may wind up even more disappointing than their underachieving season. The big man who so badly wanted to be there, who pushed his way out of small-market Orlando in order to shine under the brightest of lights in the biggest of markets, is having second thoughts again as his free agency looms.
Despite all signs pointing to his Lakers return late in the season, the star whose infamous indecisiveness led to his Orlando saga being dubbed “The Dwightmare” is – according to a person with knowledge of his situation – torn between the idea of Laker life or the notion of joining a Houston Rockets club that looks so much more appealing with James Harden & Co. in tow. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because of the private nature of Howard’s process.
Across the Staples Center hall, the Clippers’ decision to part ways with coach Vinny Del Negro on Tuesday was the latest step forward for the once-woeful franchise. It was a calculated choice that will perfectly position them for the likely re-signing of free-agent-to-be Chris Paul this summer and years of Western Conference contention follow.
It wasn’t an indictment of Del Negro as much as it was a reality of today’s NBA, as talent rules all and parting ways with the coach was clearly a prerequisite to holding onto Paul after the Clippers fell to Memphis in the first round.
It was handled cleanly, decisively, with a clear vision in mind from all involved parties of both the player and front office sorts. It was, in other words, the opposite of everything unfolding in Lakers Land.
The Lakers, who hoped Howard’s return would help bridge the gap to a new era that could be kickstarted in the summer of 2014 when they have so much salary cap space and … [For more on Dwight Howard torn between Lakers and Houston Rockets, click here.]