The Los Angeles Lakers worked hard to retain Dwight Howard this summer, but the free agent center wanted two specific things that the team wouldn't grant. Howard apparently insisted, according to former ESPN reporter Ric Bucher that the Lakers "fire Mike D'Antoni and amnesty, or at the very least muzzle, Kobe Bryant."
The Lakers passed on that not-so-modest proposal from Howard.
If L.A. gave Howard what he wanted, the Lakers could be looking at a radically different team right now. Using the amnesty clause on Bryant would've been controversial, but firing D'Antoni would've been easy and the team could have let Kobe walk in free agency a year from now. In 12 months, this could have been Howard's team.
The Lakers never had any intention of dumping one of the most important players in franchise history, even if Kobe is nearing the end of his career. This isn't to say the Lakers chose Bryant over Howard, but it's clear the two players couldn't co-exist in Los Angeles much longer than they did.
Meanwhile, the gripes from Howard regarding D'Antoni aren't exactly news. It's long been known that Howard was dissatisfied with his role in the coach's offensive system, even though D'Antoni pointed out after his signing with Houston that the Rockets run a very similar offense.
That said, it's easy to question the Lakers' decision. Howard may have his warts, but he's a supremely talented 27-year-old center in a league lacking good ones. With their best days likely behind them, Bryant and D'Antoni presumably won't be able to have the same impact on a franchise.
But the Lakers stayed loyal to their franchise player and will continue on this path. Through all the turmoil, the Lakers and Kobe have stayed together -- as we've seen, even Dwight Howard couldn't break up the partnership.