Back in the summer of 2013, GM Mitch Kupchak and company did everything within their power to keep Dwight Howard in Los Angeles. The Lakers were able to offer $30 million more than the Houston Rockets or any other team for that matter, but it simply wasn’t enough to convince the star center to stay in purple and gold.
After Dwight signed with the Rockets, the three-time Defensive Player of the Year became public enemy number one amongst Lakers fans. Everyone in Los Angeles seemed convinced that Dwight couldn’t handle the bright lights of Los Angeles and therefore, took the easy route to play alongside James Harden in Houston.
Along with talk that Dwight was unable to handle the pressure that comes with playing in a Lakers uniform, some speculated that he never saw eye-to-eye with Kobe Bryant. On Tuesday, before facing Kobe for the first time since signing with the Rockets, Dwight said the following, according to Vincent Bonsignore of the Los Angeles Daily News:
— Vincent Bonsignore (@DailyNewsVinny) October 28, 2014
Heading into the season opener on Tuesday night at the Staples Center, all eyes will be on Kobe and Dwight with the Rockets coming to town. Houston is widely considered one of the better teams in the Western Conference and will prove to be a tough test for Kobe and company.
Even new head coach Byron Scott made things a bit more interesting between these two teams. Coach Scott said he’s unsure Dwight was as serious as Kobe in terms of wanting to win championships.
Along with the Kobe-Dwight storyline heading into this game, Jeremy Lin will be taking on his old team for the first time since he was traded by the Rockets to the Lakers. Lin doesn’t seem to hold a grudge against his former team, but it’d be safe to say he’ll be out to prove a point on Tuesday.
Needless to say, there will be plenty of things to watch for in Tuesday night’s season opener with the Lakers seemingly having everything to gain and the Rockets everything to lose.[divide]
Lakers Byron Scott Expects Dwight Howard To Want To Beat The Crap Out Of The Lakers