The 2 sides of Dwight Howard's latest Lakers PR nightmare


There's good and bad in the most recent Dwightmare. But mostly bad.

Dwight Howard apparently had a second, secret exit interview once the Lakers were eliminated from the playoffs. After meeting with coach Mike D'Antoni and GM Mitch Kupchak like every other player, Dwight circled back and had a private talk with Kupchak about D'Antoni. ESPN L.A. reports that Howard groused about D'Antoni not including him in chats about the team with Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash and how he generally doesn't feel comfortable with the coach.

On one hand, does anyone in L.A. like D'Antoni right now? Fans openly (and loudly) propositioned toward Phil Jackson while D'Antoni was in the locker room trying to coach his team. Both troll and non-troll columnists have expressed skepticism at D'Antoni's ability to get this team another championship. If L.A.'s Tuesday election to pick a new mayor instead determined the next coach of the team, turnout would be multiples of the expected 25 percent. And D'Antoni would almost assuredly not finish first.

So in this sense, by disliking or mistrusting D'Antoni, Howard is aligned with a great number of Lakers fans, analysts and observers ... and maybe even his teammates. Frankly, there's no problem with wanting to talk to Kupchak about D'Antoni. It's unfortunate someone -- probably one of Dwight's leaky friends -- spilled it to the media.

But then there's the actual whine itself: that D'Antoni consulted Kobe and Nash but not Dwight. Uh ... so? Kobe and Nash are legends, veterans and very obvious team leaders. Howard has been around the league a while, but had only a limited relationship with D'Antoni prior November 2012. (D'Antoni was an assistant for Team USA, which Howard has played for.) D'Antoni and Kobe go back to Bryant's childhood in Italy. D'Antoni coached Nash to two MVPs and through several playoff runs. No one knows what D'Antoni thinks of Howard, but a reasonable case can be made that the coach didn't seek to use his best players as a conduit, just the players with whom he feels most comfortable. It's pretty silly for Dwight to take offense at that ... especially when you consider there's a strong chance D'Antoni, Kobe and Nash were talking about Howard himself.

All in all, Howard comes off looking, per usual, as someone who can't avoid creating drama for himself. The fact that Howard wouldn't bring up his distaste for D'Antoni's exclusion in a meeting with D'Antoni makes him look, fairly or not, like a coward, and the fact that Howard had a second secret meeting to complain about D'Antoni makes him look, fairly or not, like a snitch. That's not good, Dwight. But it's very Dwight.

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