Lakers News and Rumors Recap: Mike D’Antoni vs. Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard PracticeThe Lakers start a 3-game home stand tonight against the Jazz, and desperately need to win these three games. The Jazz come in as the seventh seed in the Western Conference right now at 23-19. They are a much less effective team on the road, only 9-15 on the year. Don’t get too excited; they have already won a game at Staples this season and are 2-0 against this Lakers team. Not only that, the Jazz are hot right now after winning four games in a row, including a 104-97 victory over the defending champion Miami Heat.

Mike D’Antoni and Dwight Howard are both on the hot seat right now. From what I have seen in the LN comments and on Twitter, Lakers fans are split when it comes to who they would rather see leave. For those of you in the fire D’Antoni camp, bad news. Lakers management has come out and said they don’t plan on relieving D’Antoni of his coaching duties and won’t even “consider firing him.” If they were to fire Mike D’Antoni, the Lakers would owe “$25 million in fired coaching salaries, before whatever they paid the guy who would replace D’Antoni.” Unfortunately, after relieving Mike Brown, the Lakers simply cannot also get rid of Mike D’Antoni.

That leaves fans with option two; should Howard be the one to take a hike? Before Wednesday night’s game Howard vowed to stop his immaturity and start dominating. But, due to an injury, fans didn’t see much playtime from him. Tonight, hopefully, could be different.

One thing is for sure, he will be playing tonight. During the Lakers loss to the Memphis Grizzlies Wednesday night, Dwight Howard left the game with what appeared to be a re-aggravated shoulder injury. However, Howard participated in a full shootaround this morning and will start tonight against the Utah Jazz.

As far as where I stand, I think you all know how I feel. Howard needs to leave. And for those of you disagreeing with me, Kobe Bryant himself spoke with Yahoo! on Monday night and said pretty much the same thing; Dwight Howard makes him look bad. Kobe said:

“I’ve tried to go out of my way to get him the ball. Sometimes I end up looking like an idiot, because I get up in the air, I’ve got a shot, but I try to find him. But he thinks I’m going to shoot, so his back is turned. I’m trying to think about getting him the ball a lot – take care of him as much as I possibly can.”

Zach Harper of Eye on Basketball explains; “when Kobe does sacrifice his own scoring to get Dwight shots on the low block (because Dwight has forgotten he’s supposed to be awesome in the pick-and-roll), he needs Dwight to come through with good solid post possessions.” How truer a statement. Kobe, in his own right, needs to adjust to Howard’s playing style and not expect Dwight to accept a pass coming from the air. I can see how, being the phenomenal shooter Kobe is, Howard can be thrown off when Bryant passes like that. But, when Kobe and the other players accommodate Dwight and play to his strengths, and then the big man still can’t perform, there is a huge problem there. Not only, Dwight turns the ball over 19.7 percent of the time. One in every five Dwight Howard possessions is a bust.

Right now, Dwight is only scoring 0.78 points per possession in the post and making 48.2 percent of his shots. If I were Kobe, I would also feel the need to “take care” of this million dollar All Star. You would think it was Dwight’s first season, or something…

Is there still time for Steph Curry to get on the All Star roster?

For more on the pregame report, click here.

Utah Jazz (23-19) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (17-25)

7:30 PM PST, January 25, 2013
Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA

Jazz Projected Starting Line-up

PG: Jamaal Tinsley
SG: Randy Foye
SF: Marvin Williams
PF: Paul Millsap
C: Al Jefferson

Key Reserves: F Derrick Favors, F Enes Kanter, Gordon Hayward

Lakers Nation News

System Failure: Pau Gasol Must Come Off the Bench

Lakers Rumors: Team Won’t Consider Firing Mike D’Antoni

Shootaround Report: Dwight Howard Will Start Without Limitations

Lakers vs. Jazz Pre-Game Report: Lakers Return Home After Poor Trip

Basketball Breakdown: What’s Wrong With The Lakers?

Lakers News: Dwight Howard Cleared to Play Friday vs. Utah

Lakers Rumors: Team Reporter Suspects Dwight Howard Leaves Lakers

Lakers News and Rumors Recap: An Unsolvable Conundrum?

Lakers News

How the Lakers Can Make the Postseason [Silver Screen and Roll]

Utah Jazz @ LA Lakers [Silver Screen and Roll]

Two All Star Starters Ain’t Worth What it Used to Be [Silver Screen and Roll]

The Lakers Don’t Even Talk a Good Game [LA Times]

D’Antoni Isn’t Leaving [OC Register]

Lakers Should Fire D’Antoni Now [ESPN Insider]

Simmons vs. Lowe: The Lakers [Grantland]

Lakers Hope ‘Nightmare’ Run Has an Ending [LA Times]

What is Wrong With the Los Angeles Lakers? [ LA Daily News]

When Steve Nash D’s Up [True Hoop]

Can Gasol And Howard Play Together? [ESPN Forum]

Dwight Howard, Future of the Franchise? [LA Times]

Lakers vs Jazz Preview [ESPN]

Spiraling Lakers Still Within Reach of Playoffs [LA Times]

Lakers Forward Earl Clark Set to be Unrestricted Free Agent After Season [LA Daily News]

The L.A. Lakers’ Issues: A Video Breakdown [SB Nation]

Dwight Howard or Mike D’Antoni? [ESPN]

Lakers Need to Answer Big Questions [ProBasketballTalk]

Miller: No Reason for Howard to Stay with Lakers [OC Register]

Exasperated Kobe Says He’s ‘Looking Like an Idiot’ Forcing Ball to Howard [Eye On Basketball]

Dwight Howard Cleared to Play [OC Register]

Lakers Fans Shouldn’t Look to 2013 Draft for Hope [Lakers Index]

The Week the Laker Dream Died [True Hoop]

NBA News

Do Three-Point Shooters Get Tired? [Hoop Idea]

Here’s the new New Orleans Pelicans Logo [The Basketball Jones]

Chris Paul Sits Out vs. Phoenix Suns with Bruised Kneecap [ESPN LA]

Killer Lineup: The Old-is-New-Again Spurs [True Hoop]

Hunter 2-0 as Coach After Suns Beat Clippers []

Stephen Curry Heads List of NBA All-Star Game Snubs [ProBasketballTalk]

NBA Shootaround: I LIKE MY MEATBALLS SPICY [Grantland]

Derrick Rose to Return to Practice This Week? [Eye On Basketball]

Dual Point Guard Lineups [Hardwood Paroxysm]

Cool shirt, Jerry Sloan [The Basketball Jones]

Melo, Knicks Hand Celtics Fifth Straight Loss [ESPN]

Knicks Finally Win in Boston, Suns Upset Clippers [SB Nation]

These Pelicans are Serious [True Hoop]

Host Harden Leads All-Star Reserves []

Kendrick Perkins Has Some Interesting Comments About Russell Westbrook [ProBasketballTalk]

Duncan Now 14-Time All-Star [ESPN]

Maturation of ‘Melo: Carmelo Anthony Shows Poise of an MVP [Yahoo! Sports]

Tim Duncan, Gregg Popovich Don’t Make Trip to Dallas [Mavericks Report]

Dealing with Chris Paul and Kevin Durant [True Hoop]

Clippers Fall to Suns, 93-88 [Clips Nation]

DeRozan Lifts Raptors Over Magic at Buzzer, 97-95 []

Carmelo Anthony Looking to Recoup Lost Wages from Suspension [ESPN NY]

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