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Rumors of Kobe-Dwight Howard Blowup Show L.A. Strife

Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard had to be separated by teammates following a New Year’s Day loss to Philadelphia, according to a report that two Los Angeles Lakers sources vehemently refuted. What is certain is this: the Lakers are in turmoil.

They dropped their third straight Sunday night to the Denver Nuggets, dropping them to three games under .500. The storied Lakers fired coach Mike Brown after just five games, passed on a chance to re-hire the winningest coach in NBA history, Phil Jackson, and, instead, hired Mike D’Antoni, whose style of play does not seem to fit the personnel.

Acquiring D’Antoni, Howard and Steve Nash has done nothing to spark the Lakers, who are 11th in the Western Conference, meaning they have to pass three teams just to make the playoffs.

That is bad enough.

Now comes a report by the New York Daily News that Bryant goaded Howard in the locker room, saying Shaquille O’Neal was right about Howard, that he was not physical enough. Howard then moved forward toward Bryant, but was stopped by teammates, according to the article. reported that two sources adamantly denied any such event occurred. Whatever the case, it is apparent there is not enough harmony among teammates, considering Howard’s remarks Saturday:

“Those guys on the (Los Angeles) Clippers team, they really enjoy each other off the court and it shows,” he said after the Laker practice. “It’s something we have to do to get better. We have to play like we like each other. Even if we don’t want to be friends off the court, whatever that may be, when we step in between the lines or we step in the locker room or the gym, we have to respect each other and what we bring to the table.

“It really starts off the court. I think you have to have that relationship and that chemistry off the court for it to really blossom on the court. It takes time to develop that. You just don’t come together and then expect to be best friends right away. It just doesn’t happen like that”

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