With the 2014-15 NBA regular season quickly approaching on October 28, the Los Angeles Lakers will host the Houston Rockets in their season opener. Tuesday night will mark the first time Kobe Bryant faces Dwight Howard since the All-Star center left the Lakers after one season.
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While there have been conflicting reports on why Howard left, a source close to Bryant viewed the departure as “a positive” according to Ken Berger of CBS Sports:
Only weeks before his comeback from the Achilles injury ended so abruptly, Bryant signed a two-year, $48.5 million contract that will pay him $25 million next season at age 37. While the arrangement virtually assured that Bryant will retire as a Laker, it also hindered the team’s quest for a free-agent star around whom it could forge a new path once he’s gone. Though Bryant viewed Dwight Howard’s free-agent departure in 2013 as “a positive,” according to a person close to him, the Lakers barely got this past summer’s prime free agents, James and Anthony, to give the franchise a passing thought. Why is that?
In his lone season with the Lakers, Howard came back much earlier than expected from back surgery and played well after the All-Star break — helping the Lakers make the Western Conference playoffs. However, the All-Star center struggled in the first round against the San Antonio Spurs and his final game in a Lakers uniform ended with an ejection after complaining about a foul call.
Heading into the season opener, all the attention will be on the five-time champion. After two consecutive season-ending injuries, Bryant found his rhythm in his final three preseason games where he averaged 26.7 points in 31.3 minutes.[divide]
Lakers’ Kobe Bryant Comments On ESPN Article