|Are Howard and Kobe not getting along? (Getty Images)|
The Lakers have been losing more than they've been winning this season, which means it was only a matter of time before a story popped up that there were locker-room issues. It's kind of in the handbook. When things get bad, the media tries to make them worse.
A report from the New York Daily News -- that's right New York, 2,500 miles away from Los Angeles -- says that Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant got into it with each other following after the Lakers lost on New Year's Day to the 76ers.
A league source told the Daily News that the Lakers stars got into a heated exchange following a New Year's Day loss to the 76ers, and Bryant went for a low blow – referencing and agreeing with Shaquille O'Neal's criticisms of Howard being soft.
Howard was restrained from going at his teammate, according to the source, and there have been rumblings from the center's camp that he's been unhappy with Bryant since earlier in the season.
Three days after the altercation, following a disheartening loss to the Clippers, Howard complained about the lack of chemistry on the Lakers. It was a comment seemingly directed at Bryant, who is averaging a league-high 22 shots despite playing with three potential Hall of Famers.
Well, Kobe did say he'd "kick everyone's ass in this locker room," you know. Maybe he was serious ...
But the article is building the case that the Nets could reopen the Dwightmare and make a play for Howard in the offseason, when he's an unrestricted free agent. That's probably important to keep in mind.
One thing Kobe and Howard have disagreed on is whether a little arguing is good for the team. Kobe told reporters this after Sunday's loss to the Nuggets:
"I think it's fine for us to boil over a little bit," he said. "It's fine to get a little chippy. I kind of get the sense in this locker room that that's finally starting to happen."
Howard said this:
"Sometimes when you try too hard, you mess up," he said. "We're just trying to put it all together, just quiet our spirits and play. Everything is so muffled, and we're not 'one' right now. We have to get to that place where we're one as a team and we move forward together. That's the only thing I can say about being patient."
Howard has talked publicly about chemistry within the team, about playing together and being there for one another. He took a not-so-veiled jab when he talked about what the Clippers do better than the Lakers.
But a "feud" that almost ended up with the two coming to blows? Don't you think we would've heard of this before now? And maybe not from a New York publication that's making a case for Howard to come to New York? Just thinking out loud here.
Real GM reports that the reported dust-up is overblown:
"I was told on Thursday that the rumor of a Dwight-Kobe altercation was nothing more than talk. I also know of two other reporters that were made aware of the rumor last week and also told the story wasn't true when they looked into it."
"Two Lakers sources have adamantly shot down the reported Dwight/Kobe incident. One said, 'it's simply not true.'"
But hey, maybe Howard's truly following in Shaq's footsteps, and the next step is to get mad at Kobe. In a few weeks he'll be rapping in a club asking Kobe how his you-know-what tastes.