According to Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Dwight Howard Sr. believes his son, Dwight Howard, will re-sign with the Lakers this summer as a free agent.
Howard Sr. spoke out for his son on the recent controversy surrounding Howard’s shoulder injury, criticizing both Kobe Bryant and Coach Mike D’Antoni.
“Nobody can say what Kobe said -- that’s stepping into another man’s shoes,” Howard Sr. said. “I understand what Kobe was trying to do, but he went about it the wrong way. He’s trying to win a championship, but Dwight has to tell Kobe, ‘I appreciate your opinion, but that doesn’t matter. We’re two men on this team. We need to be reasonable about this.’ ”
Bryant had recently emphasized the urgency for Howard to play through his shoulder injury with Pau Gasol going down for six to eight weeks with a foot problem.
D’Antoni suggested recently that Howard had sat even though doctors had cleared him to play. Howard chose not to play both because of pain he continued to experience and concern for his long-term career.
“The problem is the coach. [D’Antoni] needs to step in and say, ‘You guys have got to be quiet. We’re trying to secure something here,’ ” Howard Sr. said. “Dwight is probably looking at the coach, thinking, ‘What are you going to do?’”
“I promise, if that had been Stan Van Gundy, that wouldn’t have happened. [Howard] wouldn’t have been admonished publicly,” he said. “I think the coach has a lot to do with who controls Kobe’s mouth right now.”
Van Gundy coached Howard with the Orlando Magic and, while the two had a contentious relationship, Van Gundy helped get Howard to the NBA Finals.
Bryant said recently he wasn’t trying to admonish Howard, just repeating his own mantra for urgency this season.
It’s been a difficult year for Howard and the Lakers.
“L.A. has been like humble pie for him,” Howard Sr. told the Atlanta paper. “When you go from being ‘the man’ in one city to second or third tier, it takes a toll on you mentally.”
Howard Sr. recommends that D’Antoni, Bryant and his son all get together to talk.
“When [Howard] spoke up, he asked me what I thought, and I told him I applaud him for standing up for himself,” Howard Sr. said. “But I still think he needs to have a-sit down with coach and Kobe.”
Howard returned to actionThursday in a 116-95 loss to the Boston Celtics. The Lakers came back from a 20-point deficit to defeat the Charlotte Bobcats on Friday, 100-93, improving to 24-27 on the season.