With Dwight Howard hitting free agency Monday and teams lining up to pitch the All-Star center, the widespread rumor is that the biggest obstacle to Howard re-signing with the Lakers is coach Mike D'Antoni. Howard has never had a great relationship with D'Antoni, who wants Howard to work more in the pick-and-roll and less in the post, where Howard thinks he belongs.
But ESPN reports on the eve of the start of free agency that Howard is not trying to control the Lakers when it comes to D'Antoni.
Source close to Dwight: "Howard has not asked for Mike D'Antoni to be fired and Howard will not ask for that"— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) June 30, 2013
This is a pretty smart move by Howard's camp. "We don't want D'Antoni but we definitely haven't asked for him to be fired." So Howard gets his point across without being a coach killer, and puts the onus on the Lakers. If they want him so bad, will they give him what he won't ask for?
That sounds pretty ridiculous, so it checks out with what we know of the Howard saga. The danger is that the Lakers could fire D'Antoni this afternoon, and Howard might still sign with the Rockets. They could keep D'Antoni and Howard could very well re-sign. It's not that Howard's intentions are indecipherable, it's that they seem to come out of the thin air, with no real logic attached to them.
He's been making emotional decisions for two years running. Trying to make a rational set of choices around that kind of entity is nearly impossible. Welcome to the hunt for Howard, 2013.